French Derby: Vadeni too good for El Bodegon and Modern Games in Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly

The French Derby crown will stay on home soil this year after Vadeni saw off his British rivals in impressive style at Chantilly on Sunday.

Charlie Appleby’s Modern Games was sent off the 9/4 favourite as he went in search of a French Classic double, having landed the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at ParisLongchamp last month.

William Buick cast aside any concerns about a wide draw by making a fast start out of the stalls and sending Modern Games to the front, tracked closely by James Ferguson’s El Bodegon.

Most of the others struggled to get into contention from a strong-looking pace in the Group One contest, but Jean-Claude Rouget’s Vadeni was switched wide by Christophe Soumillon and soon hit the front, powering away from the rest of the field.

The winner was cut to as short as 5/1 for October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, behind Epsom Derby winner Desert Crown at 2/1.

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French Derby-winning rider Christophe Soumillon says a trip to Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes could well be on the agenda for Vadeni.

Rouget told Sky Sports Racing: “I am happy when a horse is flying like him today. He’s a horse with a lot of class.

“He was quite a poor yearling and he’s improved a lot for his racing. I hope he can have a good summer and autumn.”

Ferguson was thrilled with the efforts of his horse, telling Sky Sports Racing: “I’ve never been so happy to come second! It’s just so great to see him back on track.

“All credit to the winner, he’s a fantastic winner and was gone. We’ve beaten everyone else so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in the future.”

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Trainer James Ferguson was thrilled with the efforts of his French Derby runner-up El Bodegon and is excited to see what the future holds

US trip on the cards for Modern Games

Appleby said: “James’ horse has run very well and full credit to him and his team.

“More importantly for ourselves, we did what we wanted to do. He’s got great speed and William was controlling it how he wanted to control it on the front.

“You could spot the winner a long way out and, at the end of the day, we lost second because we didn’t go through the line, whereas the second horse did.

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Trainer Charlie Appleby says stamina let down Modern Games in the French Derby, with a trip to the USA the likely next step

“We knew the trip would be towards the end of his petrol gauge and, going forward, the likelihood is we’ll probably take him to America for something like the Belmont Derby or the Saratoga Derby.

“Running over 10 [furlongs] or nine and a half on quicker ground is probably his gig.”

Mare Australis ignites Arc dream

Andre Fabre’s former Prix Ganay winner Mare Australis bounced back to form with a dominant display in the Group Two Prix de Chantilly.

Dropping in class and going back up to a-mile-and-a-half after back-to-back defeats at ParisLongchamp, the son of Australia showed real class to win from the front under Olivier Peslier.

Owner Philipp Von Ullman told Sky Sports Racing: “[The Arc] has our dream in 153 years of doing this as Gestut Schlenderhan [ownership group]. We’ve never won the Arc and that’s the one we want.

“We saw in the last race that he wasn’t quite 100 per cent, probably not even at 80 per cent, so it was great to see that stamina is still there.”

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Jockey Christophe Soumillon believes Prix de Royaumont winner Baiykara could peak just in time for the Arc at the end of the 2022 Flat season.

There was more success for Soumillon in the Aga Khan colours earlier on the card as Baiykara got off the mark with victory in the Prix de Royaumont.

Francis-Henri Graffard’s three-year-old shot clear of nearest rival Manisha to win at odds of 7/2.

“I was quite confident after the way she ran last time,” Soumillon told Sky Sports Racing. “Today with the soft ground and extra distance I was sure she was going to give us a great run.

“She was really green in her efforts because it was the first time in her life that she had to take the lead but that’s a good thing because it means she the day she gives us everything she will be able to give another two or three lengths.

“I’m very confident for the Autumn with her. She’s engaged in the Arc so why not? We could see the best of her at the end of the season.”

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