Wednesday 13 December 2017

Cirrus Des Aigles storms to Coronation Cup success

Cirrus Des Aigles ridden by Christophe Soumillon races for the finish line to win The Coronation Cup during the Epsom Derby festival
Cirrus Des Aigles ridden by Christophe Soumillon races for the finish line to win The Coronation Cup during the Epsom Derby festival

Tom Peacock

Christophe Soumillon saluted the crowd after partnering Cirrus Des Aigles to a smooth victory in the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Corine Barande-Barbe's wonderful eight-year-old was winning at the highest level for the sixth time and recording the 21st success of his stellar career.

Settled in fourth as Ambivalent put the pace to the race, Soumillon appeared to have everything covered two furlongs out although Andre Fabre's Flintshire still posed a threat.

The veteran pulled out plenty when challenged, however, and was a comfortable two-length winner as the 10-11 favourite, with Ambivalent staying on for third.

Unfortunately Soumillon jumped off on passing the post, feeling his mount had gone lame.

Soumillon said: "When he changed legs he did something he never does really. When he passed the post he didn't really feel right.

"Hopefully it isn't anything too bad. He's an amazing horse."

Cirrus Des Aigles was trotted up and down on the track, before returning to the winner's enclosure seemingly more sound.

Walking back, Barande-Barbe said: "He's a bit lame. I think he's a bit better since the jockey jumped off him and I'm very proud of him.

"Christophe said he felt it a long way out so he's very brave.

"He loves fighting and winning."

Speaking shortly afterwards Barande-Barbe said: "He was a a bit lame on passing the post but is a bit better now, nothing really serious has happened but you don't like to see it when a horse is lame.

"When you touch it you can see nothing, neither can the vet. Maybe he missed a step, I don't know. I'm not really worried but I prefer to be able to say tomorrow that he is OK.

"He's very proud of himself and you can usually tell when something is wrong with him, he always shows you, that is what he did in Hong Kong.

"In the morning if he has a little hole (in his tendon) I will be able to tell when I touch it, he doesn't show it now.

"I think he's a fighter because he changed his distance (from his last race) and he has travelled to England and raced on a track that goes up and down but he did it very well.

"That's his third Group One in a row. What do you call it? A hat-trick, so I'm very proud.

"He won't go to Royal Ascot, that will come too soon, his next race will be hopefully the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud."

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Flintshire's owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "It was his first run since the Arc and we're very happy with that.

"He's going to get better and this could be the start of a very interesting season for him. He won't go to Ascot, but could go for the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud."

Roger Varian said of third home Ambivalent: "That was another really respectable run to finish just behind two very good boys."

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