Sea Silk Road enjoys perfect send-off success in Prix de Royallieu

Sea Silk Road evoked memories of her illustrious sire after seemingly going out in a blaze of glory in the Qatar Prix de Royallieu at ParisLongchamp.

It is 14 years since the great Sea The Stars brought the curtain down on his stellar career with success in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – and while his William Haggas-trained daughter is not in that class, she saved her best performance for what is set to be her last.

Winner of the Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock earlier in the year, the four-year-old had since finished second in the Lancashire Oaks, fifth in the Yorkshire Oaks and third in the Prix Vermeille ahead of a third shot at Group One glory on her return to Paris.

Ridden confidently by Aurelien Lemaitre, Sea Silk Road looked to improve for the step up to a mile and three-quarters, quickening up smartly to leave her toiling rivals trailing in her wake.

“She’s a lovely filly and deserved to win a Group One. She looked like she needed the extra distance last time and has proved as much today,” said the winning trainer’s wife and assistant Maureen Haggas.

“She was a very immature three-year-old, which is part of the reason we kept her (in training) and she has now really grown into herself.

“She’s won a Group One so she can go off to stud now. When you’ve won a Group One, you can add to it but you can’t improve on it.”

Poker Face put the seal on a memorable two days for the Simon and Ed Crisford with a Group Two triumph in the Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein.

The father-and-son partnership had already landed the Group Two Rockfel Stakes with Carla’s Way and the Group One Middle Park with Vandeek at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting and Poker Face got himself in the big-race winner’s enclosure with a comfortable win in the hands of Maxime Guyon.

“It’s been an incredible two days and I’m delighted for everyone involved,” said the Crisfords’ racing manager Liam Elvidge.

“It’s been the plan to come here for the Daniel Wildenstein with Poker Face, expecting the ground to be a little bit softer, but he’s put in a helluva performance.

“That’s his third win on the bounce after winning a Listed race at Pontefract and a Group Three at Deauville. To come here and win on Arc weekend is an amazing achievement.

“We will get him home to Newmarket and see how he comes out of the race before deciding whether to give him another run this year or wait for next year.”

Dermot Weld’s Harbour Wind was narrowly denied in the Qatar Prix Chaudenay.

The Nathaniel gelding claimed his third win from four previous starts in the Listed Vinnie Roe Stakes at Leopardstown in late August, teeing himself up for a tilt at this Group Two prize.

Ridden by Chris Hayes, Harbour Wind was closing on the Christophe Ferland-trained Double Major throughout the final furlong, but the winning post ultimately came too soon.

Weld’s runner holds an entry in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot in three weeks’ time, but appears unlikely to to take up that engagement.

Weld said: “He’s run a very good race, they went pretty steady early on and it turned into a little bit of a sprint – maybe the winner got first run.

“We’re very pleased with the run and he’ll make into a lovely horse next year.

“That (Ascot) will be a bit soon, I’d say that’s it for this year.”

Horizon Dore continued his march towards a tilt at the Qipco Champion Stakes with victory in the Group Two Prix Dollar.

Patrice Cottier’s star three-year-old arrived on a Group-race hat-trick after landing the Prix Eugene Adam at Saint-Cloud and most recently the Prix du Prince d’Orange at this track four weeks ago.

Just for a moment it looked like Frankie Dettori may have stolen a march on his rivals aboard Paul and Oliver Cole’s Jack Darcy, but Mickael Barzalona was waiting in the wings all the while aboard favourite Horizon Dore and swooped late to secure a cosy success.

Pauline Chehboub, racing manager for her family’s Gousserie Racing operation, said: “He has a huge talent, we have seen that since the start of the season. We are very lucky to have him.

“He has that very good acceleration that champion horses have. Mickael said he broke well and he did what he wanted.

“We want to get back our title in the Qipco Champion Stakes (having won it with Sealiway in 2021), I can’t wait to be there. See you in Ascot!”

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