Bathrat Leon finishes 7th in Prix Jacques le Marois
On Sunday, Aug. 14 at Deauville Racecourse, Bathrat Leon took on his second Grade 1 of his 2022 overseas excursion to England and France, but the 4-year-old Kizuna colt was unable to improve on the frustrating fourth he’d posted Iast out in the Sussex Stakes.
Racing in the Prix Jacques le Marois, a mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up, Bathrat Leon found the straight course at Deauville less forgiving than the bends at Goodwood and came up short to finish in seventh place.
Off at 15:55 local time (23:55 in Japan), Bathrat Leon broke sharply from the No. 6 gate, grabbed the lead amid the field of nine and quickly moved to the rail.
Ryan Moore had Order of Australia pace Bathrat Leon from the start and headed him from 2 1/2 furlongs out. With a furlong remaining in the race, Japan’s hopeful had nothing left in his tank. Order of Australia’s lead lasted until the final furlong as well, where a heated battle flared among four 3-year-olds that had raced midfield or further back.
Of them, it was the Frankel filly Inspiral who held her ground to cross the line in first, after a hefty whack from Frankie Dettori despite pressure to the end.
Light Infantry, a Fast Company colt ridden by Jamie Spencer, finished in second by a neck. Finished in third place also by a neck was the Dubawi-sired Erevann, with Christophe Soumillon up.
“Breaking well and sending him to the front on the rail all went according to plan,” trainer Yoshito Yahagi said after the race. “But since it was a straight course, he couldn’t get a breather around the bends. The jockey (Ryusei Sakai) said that was why he couldn’t put up a fight in the final stage.”
Bathrat Leon was also racing under 59.5kg, 2kg less than he’d carried in the Sussex Stakes, but still heavier than his previous top weight of 57kg, a weight he’d won under at Meydan in late March.
With the Prix Jacques le Marois, Yahagi wrapped up his overseas sortie consisting of four Grade 1 events, preceded by King Hermes in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at the same venue, Bathrat Leon in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and King Hermes in the July Cup at Newmarket. The four turf tests brought the Yahagi stable a 7-11-4-11 record respectively, not typical for the trainer who has bagged big races in five countries outside of Japan.
“Stabling him overseas for an extended period of time helped, as he was very relaxed,” the trainer said of Bathrat Leon. “The support has been fantastic and my staff has really done a great job. We didn’t get any good results on this excursion, but we can’t always win. I am going to try hard and get our revenge next time.”
Bathrat Leon, out of the New Approach mare Bathrat Amal was bred at Mishima Bokujo in Hokkaido. The colt is owned by Hiroo Race Co. Ltd. and has 4 wins from his 16 career starts, with firsts at the Grade 2 level in the New Zealand Trophy over the mile at Nakayama and the Godolphin Mile, also over the mile at Meydan. His Sussex Stakes fourth-place finish tied his Asahi Futurity Stakes result as his best performance at the top level.
It was the first time in 19 years that a Japanese trainer has fielded a horse in the Prix Jacques le Marois. The race has been contested by a total of five Japan-based runners (including Bathrat Leon) on four separate occasions starting in 1986. The race was won by Japan’s Taiki Shuttle in 1998.
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