Garswood finds winning touch
Richard Fahey saddled a first Group One winner of the year when Garswood bounced back to form to win the Prix Maurice de Gheest.
- Related Content
It was the John Gosden-trained July Cup runner-up Gregorian who headed the betting for the six-and-a-half-furlong contest, with Eddie Lynam's Viztoria and the Freddie Head-trained Thawaany next in the market.
But instead it was Garswood, who put some slightly disappointing efforts so far this season behind him, to score under Gerald Mosse.
Garswood looked to have plenty to do at halfway as German raider Sommerabend helped cut out a fair early gallop with Irish hope Fiesolana.
But the winner, who paid 12/1 on the French pari-mutuel but just 17/2 with British bookmakers, suddenly started to pick up two furlongs out and he steadily cut down his rivals to beat Thawaany and Fiesolana, who looked for some way as if she might hold off allcomers, but stayed on pluckily for some deserved black type.
Emma Armstrong, who owns Garswood with her husband David in partnership with Cheveley Park Stud, said of the half-length winner: "We knew he had his ground and we knew he could do it today.
"In England he has been very frustrating, but in France he gets his conditions and he runs well. The going was too firm for him in the Lennox at Goodwood (fourth to Es Que Love).
"I think he could well go back to the Arc meeting for another crack at the Foret in which he was third last year.
"We only live five minutes from Haydock and there is the big sprint there, but that could be a bit sharp for him."
Mosse said: "All the way I was going really well, and when I asked him to go at the 350-metre pole he just went and did it. He loved the soft ground and is a horse that never gives up.
"I have to thank my UK agent Shippy Ellis for assisting in getting me the ride."
A delighted Fahey added: "It's just great to win a Group One with him as he is an absolute gentleman of a horse - a gentleman with a lot of ability, which is what you want!
"I can honestly say I've never trained a horse with a mind like his. He literally doesn't have a care in the world. He never sweats or plays up or anything like that. I could put my daughter on him.
"We tried him in the blinkers and the visor and while I wouldn't say they were a disadvantage, they weren't helping him, so we left everything off today.
"The only time the blinkers worked was when I used them first time in a piece of work. He worked like a Group One horse that day, but he doesn't need them. There's nothing wrong with his attitude, as he's shown today.
"The Prix de la Foret has been his main aim all year. He got beaten by a very good filly (Moonlight Cloud) in the race last year and it has to be high on the agenda again.
"He's in the Haydock race (Sprint Cup), so whether we stop off there on the way to France, we'll see."
Gregorian's connections gained compensation for their poor showing when Gatewood had little trouble in landing the Group Three Prix de Reux half an hour later.
William Buick's mount tracked leader Swacadelic for much of the extended mile and a half journey before switching wide half a mile out and joining issue as the tempo increased two and a half furlongs from home.
Going nicely on from there, Buick never had to give his partner a serious reminder in stretching clear for an easy success.
A crack at the Melbourne Cup is on the agenda for the six-year-old, who is part-owned by Australian-based O T I Racing.
Buick said: "He handles this ground better than most of them and he will be suited to Melbourne, as good ground is also fine.
"He travels very well and can go with that kick of his. It's really nice to have him back to where he was.
"In the race he was always going well, I managed to get a lead and was then able to kick on."
Sky Bet kept the winner at 50/1 in their betting for the Melbourne Cup.