Do Deuce finishes fourth in Prix Niel; My Rhapsody finishes sixth in Prix Foy
Two Japan-based horses from the stable of Yasuo Tomomichi participated in two of the Arc Trials, events over the Longchamp 2,400 meters Sept. 11, as Japan continues its pursuit of the coveted Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
First up Sunday was My Rhapsody. The 5-year-old son of Heart’s Cry took on the Prix Foy, a Grade 2 worth EUR130,000 and Japan’s favorite Arc lead-up. The race has been contested by 15 others from Japan, three of whom have won, with Orfevre capturing the race twice.
Breaking from the outside gate just past 14:30 local time, My Rhapsody, with jockey Yutaka Take up, was racing for the first time in five months and on turf for his first time in nearly a year. He kept to the outside in the small field of six, and just past Longchamp’s “false straight” 800 meters out, was looking strong behind frontrunner Verry Elleegant and Bubble Gift.
Turning for home on the right-handed course, however, My Rhapsody was quickly overtaken and passed by all with 200 meters left to go. Eleven-time Australian Grade 1 winner Verry Elleegant held the top as she fought off a challenge by race favorite Bubble Gift, but race third pick Iresine was advancing up the rail, then moved sharply out at the 200 meters mark and battled his way past the two to reach the top with 50 meters to go. Bubble Gift caught and passed Verry Elleegant in the final strides.
Iresine, under female jockey Marie Velon, won by a length and a quarter over favorite Bubble Gift, piloted by Gerald Mosse. Verry Elleegant, the only mare in the field and paired with Christophe Soumillon, finished in third a head behind Bubble Gift. My Rhapsody crossed the line nearly 18 lengths behind the winner.
My Rhapsody was given the distance for only the second time in his now 15-start career, following a ninth-place finish in the 2020 Japanese Derby. “He looked good going into the stretch,” trainer Tomomichi said. “The jockey said he thought that, at his best, the horse could have held his ground, but 2,400 meters was tough. He also said the ground was better than he’d thought it would be.”
My Rhapsody will not take on the Arc, but has been nominated for three other races — the Grade 2 Daniel Wildenstein and Prix Dollar on Oct. 1, and the Grade 1 Prix de la Foret on Oct. 2.
Also by Heart’s Cry, Do Deuce took on the Prix Niel, a Grade 2 open to 3-year-olds. The day’s sixth race, it too carried a purse of EUR130,000, with EUR74,000 going to the winner. Seven colts participated, all under 58kg, and were off at 16:25 local time.
Do Deuce broke sharply from the far outside gate, but was held back by Yutaka Take and eased into the rail, where he took up position in the rear. Lassaut held the lead, closely followed by True Testament, with Simca Mille on the rail in third.
Take kept under cover until the final turn home and only then eased Do Deuce out to round neatly into the straight. The colt loomed up to the outside of Lassaut with 400 meters to go, but started to flatten. Take took to the whip at the 300-meter-mark, but received little response. Meanwhile, a battle for the top between True Testamant and Simca Mille saw the latter take the lead with 400 meters to go and hold on for the win.
French runners swept the top three spots. Jockey Gregory Benoist brought the Stephane Wattel-trained Simca Mille home in 2 minutes, 32.81 seconds, 3/4 length ahead of runnerup Lassaut from the stable of Jean-Claude Rouget under Cristian Demuro. Olivier Peslier followed a length later in third aboard the Andre Fabre-trained True Testament. Take and Do Deuce finished another 2 lengths back in fourth place.
Fourth was a blow for Do Deuce, who had never finished less than third in his previous six career starts. “We have been able to bring him along as planned, and Take said he was a bit bothered by the ground,” trainer Tomomichi commented. “He wasn’t able to win, but I do think it was valuable for him to have gained experience over the Arc course at Longchamp and he’ll likely have learned something.”
The Prix Niel has now seen five Japanese runners on five different occasions and two have won. "We won the Prix Niel with Makahiki (in 2016) and he was then tired for the Arc,” Tomomichi added. “So, hopefully we've learned from that."
“Today’s run was, in a broader sense, a schooling run for the main event,” jockey Yutaka Take commented after the race. “I don’t think he was at his best just yet, and he was feeling it in the finish. We are figuring backward from the main target and I think he’ll improve from here. Today’s results were in no way disappointing.”
Comments: JRA, Nikkan Sports
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