Fantastic Moon entered the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe picture as he flew the flag for German trainer Sarah Steinberg when a decisive winner of the Qatar Prix Niel at ParisLongchamp.
The son of Sea The Moon emulated his sire when taking the German Derby earlier in the year, after which he was second to Nations Pride in the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at Munich – another Group One.
He was an intended runner in the Grosser Preis von Baden last weekend, a race that led the German-trained Torquator Tasso to Arc success in 2021.
The going scuppered that Baden-Baden entry and Plan B was deployed when Fantastic Moon rerouted to Paris for the Group Two Prix Niel, a long-time pointer to the Arc.
The decision proved a wise one as Fantastic Moon carried Arc-winning rider Rene Piechulek to a convincing two-and-a-half-length victory, cruising around the final bend to reel in the front-running King Of Records and hold off his well-regarded stablemate Feed The Flame.
Fantastic Moon is not among the Arc entries at present and would therefore need to be supplemented, with the ground a key factor in the decision as the Breeders’ Cup and the Japan Cup are on the table also.
“He is fantastic, what a horse, what a day,” said Lars-Wilhelm Baumgarten of owners Liberty Racing.
“Arc, yes or no? We are not sure, we will decide. The Arc is an option, the Breeders’ Cup is an option and the Japan Cup is an option.
“We will discuss when the horse is back in Munich, he is a wonderful horse.
“Everybody saw that today and he is untapped at the moment, nobody knows how good he is.
“We will decide in the next days what we do but we need good ground, that’s important for him – no soft ground.
“That is the question for the Arc, what will the weather be in Paris for the next two weeks?”
Pascal Bary was not too downhearted at defeat for Grand Prix de Paris winner Feed The Flame, saying: “He wasn’t quite as ready as I thought. With the heat, Feed The Flame asked for a breather during the race. He picked up well, even if the last 100 metres perhaps seemed a bit of an eternity for him.
“Christophe Soumillon made sure of the fact that the colt was given a lesson when it came to racing between horses, which is a good form of preparation. Furthermore, he wasn’t hard on him. Of course, it’s always better to win than to be second.
“That said, the winner, Fantastic Moon, has every right to be considered a good colt. Feed The Flame will line up in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. If the ground were to ease that would be even better.”
Andre Fabre’s Place Du Carrousel may also have earned herself a spot in the Arc after landing the Qatar Prix Foy, again over course and distance.
The Lope De Vega filly, who is owned by Al Shaqab Racing and Ballylinch Stud, was partnered by Mickael Barzalona for the Group Two that Waldgeist won for Fabre in 2019 before flooring Enable in her bid to win the Arc for the third time.
Place Du Carrousel now looks likely to follow the same path after a neck success over a worthy opponent in Iresine – twice a Group One winner himself.
Rupert Pritchard-Gordon of Al Shaqab Racing said: “The filly showed that she’s in good form. She’s still fresh because she hasn’t run much this year, due to a slight setback in the spring.
“The weather conditions are exceptional today, and Monsieur Fabre preferred to go for the Qatar Prix Foy rather than the Qatar Prix Vermeille, anticipating that there would be less pace in the Foy.
“When we decided to keep her in training at four, after her success in the Prix de l’Opera Longines last year, the idea was to aim her at the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
“If all goes well between now and then, we’ll be heading to the race of dreams!”