Andre Fabre could have a contender for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe having saddled Place Du Carrousel to land the Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club at Deauville on Sunday.
The four-year-old had been seen just once so far this campaign when finishing down the field in the Prix Ganay, but was always close to the pace on her mid-season return and got first run on runner-up Bolthole as she cruised to a taking three-quarter-length success in the hands of Mickael Barzalona in the Group Three affair.
The daughter of Lope De Vega stayed on strongly to hunt down Nashwa in the Prix de l’Opera on Arc day last year, but could be headed to the main event this time around.
“It’s great to see her back,” said Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, who is owner Al Shaqab’s racing consultant in France.
“After the Ganay she really blossomed, but Andre took his time and said this is where we would start her off.
“There’s no rush. She’s in the Romanet but obviously there is the Vermeille and we hope she might be a filly for the Arc.”
There was little joy for the British and Irish raiders in the two other Group Three events, but Charlie Appleby did land a blow for the visitors when Bold Act dug deep in the Listed Prix Nureyev.
The consistent son of New Approach – who showed a good deal of ability when scoring three times as a juvenile – had gone close in Saint-Cloud’s Prix Eugene Adam most recently and although looking briefly outpaced having followed stablemate Victory Dance into the straight, he hit top gear in the hands of William Buick when it mattered most.
“We were a little worried about the ground but it was fine, he battled on really well and deserved it,” said the winning rider.
The opening Circus Maximus Prix Francois Boutin went the way of Patrice Cottier’s Grey Man who justified favouritism in good style to see off Joseph O’Brien’s recent Galway scorer Mythology.
“It wasn’t a surprise, and we all thought he had a very good chance,” said owner Jean-Philippe Dubois.
“He won over six and a half furlongs, over a mile and today he’s won at seven.
“Two out he had the race won and we are very pleased, but I shall have to consult our trainer before deciding on his next race.”
There was a small shock in the Prix Minerve as Maxime Cesandri’s Engaliwe came out on top in a three-way finish with Dschingis Star and the William Haggas-trained Crack Of Light.
“It’s always been the plan to run in this race, but earlier in the week we decided to look again and see what was left in,” said the handler.
“I was convinced she should run and that the ground wouldn’t be too firm for her.
“She was fresh from her run in a Group Three in June and we are so happy to win for the group of friends that own her.
“Options include the Prix Vermeille later on or the Prix de Royallieu when the ground could be softer.”