Last year’s champion two-year-old Bago restored his reputation in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Longchamp yesterday, when he produced a brilliant late burst of speed to triumph in Europe’s premier all-aged race.
The colt was widely considered to be the best juvenile in Europe in 2003, before being struck down with a virus earlier this year and producing some lacklustre performances on the track this season.
Many punters wrote him off after disappointing runs at York and Longchamp, but not his French-based British trainer Jonathan Pease, who describes the three-year-old colt as “the best horse I have trained during my career”.
The early action in the race came from the British 9-2 favourite North Light, who was guided into an early lead by Kieren Fallon, but the pair were constantly harassed by Japanese rider Tetsuzo Sato on Tap Dance City, who was also keen to head the field.
Cherry Mix was the first to pass North Light as the colt starting to struggle with the fast ground in the final straight. Thierry Gillet had kept Bago well positioned throughout the race and when he asked the colt to quicken he swept through to claim an impressive win ahead of Cherry Mix.
British filly Ouija Board (pictured) produced an incredible run in the home straight to take third. The winner of the British and Irish Oaks didn’t appear to be contention as she came around the final bend with only four horses behind her. But to the delight of her connections, the filly produced the race of her life under Johnny Murtagh, surging past horse after horse on her way to the finishing post.
North Light finished a respectable fifth behind the rank outsider Acropolis.