Place Du Carrousel caused a huge upset when getting up late to beat Nashwa in the Prix de l’Opera Longines at ParisLongchamp.
It was nearly the perfect front-running ride from Hollie Doyle on Nashwa, who took the lead and set a sensible tempo in the very deep ground before kicking clear.
It appeared she had stolen enough ground to hold on but just as John and Thady Gosden’s filly began to get tired, Andre Fabre’s Place Du Carrousel – not seen since finishing a long way behind Nashwa in the Prix de Diane – began to sprout wings.
Mickael Barzalona timed it just right to claim a second winner on the card after also causing a shock in the opening Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Belbek.
With Aidan O’Brien’s pre-race favourite The Antarctic pulled out on the morning of the race after being found to be lame, the contest looked to be up for grabs for fellow Irish contender Shartash, from the Johnny Murtagh team.
But, Ben Coen struggled to get the 15/8 favourite going in the rain-sodden ground, finishing fourth.
Barzalona, winning the race for a fourth time, made his move aboard Belbek inside the final furlong and out-stayed Gamestop, who had hit the front 200 yards from the winning post. Breizh Sky finished off well in third.
The winner is automatically qualified for the Breeders’ Cup next month but Fabre indicated his preference for the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster, live on Sky Sports Racing on October 22.
“We always thought he had a lot of ability but we struggled to find the right conditions,” Fabre told Sky Sports Racing. “He’s good-looking, well-bred, a good horse. Doncaster could be next.”
The Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac title will also stay in France as trainer Christopher Head landed his first Group One in the year that father Freddy Head will retire.
Blue Rose Cen (9/2) seemed to relish the soft ground as she sprinted clear along the far rail to win by five lengths under jockey Aurelien Lemaitre.
Two Irish challengers chased her home, with Jim Bolger’s Gan Teorainn finishing second ahead of Aidan O’Brien’s Never Ending Story.
Reflecting on his son’s success, Freddy Head told Sky Sports Racing: “I’m very happy for him, he’s done very well.
“She’s a very good filly and must’ve loved the ground to win like that. She’s always been very consistent.
“It’s a special moment [for Chris] and I hope there’s many more.”