Runners break from the stalls in the Prix du Gros-Chene at Chantilly
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: France, Sunday
Chantilly: Prix du Gros-Chene – Equidia Live (Group 2) 5f, 3yo+
PAUL HANAGAN’S fantastic weekend continued as Muthmir got the verdict in a photo-finish with Catcall in the big sprint on French Derby day at Chantilly.
Fresh from a four-timer at Haydock on Saturday, the former champion jockey was made to wait by the judge before his latest round of celebrations as the fast-finishing Catcall joined Muthmir right on the line.
The William Haggas-trained sprinter, who returned the 6-4 favourite following a late plunge, settled better than when finishing fifth in the Duke of York Stakes on his reappearance.
Hanagan got cover in behind the leaders and gradually upped the ante and although there wasn’t an instant response from Muthmir, he found top gear close home to take the spoils by the narrowest of margins.
Muthmir was cut to 6-1 (from 7) for the King’s Stand Stakes by a number of firms and connections confirmed the Royal Ascot sprint was the intended target.
“He’ll run in the King’s Stand,” said Haggas’s wife Maureen. “It was only his second race of the season so he will sharpen up.”
There was a lengthy delay before the result of the photo was called and Haggas was relieved to hear the outcome.
“He pricked his ears a bit when he hit the front and I thought we were beaten,” she added. “They were all tight but I thought he got out in plenty of time but he just had a little look.
“Usually when he gets out he is quite electric. He ran off with Paul last time [at York]. He was too fresh and he just hit the gates and that was that.”
There was another photo for third as the former Robert Cowell-trained Spirit Quartz edged out Finsbury Square by a nose, while Muthmir’s fellow British raiders Mirza, Stepper Point, Medicean Man and Robot Boy all finished down the field.
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