Dubai: Nothing ventured, nothing gained must surely be the dictum that inspires Godolphin’s UK-based handler Charlie Appleby who on Thursday took up the challenge to send two horses to France and reaped the rewards with a 1-2 finish in a 300-year-old race.
Space Blues, ridden by Mickael Barzalona, finished a length-and-a-quarter clear of stable companion D’Bai, the mount of Christophe Soumillon, in the Group 3 Prix de la Porte Maillot at Longchamp, to continue Appleby’s strong form in the country.
Barzalona said: “He did it well. Beforehand the only real question mark was how the race would unfold for him with his inside draw but Francis Graffard’s horse Azano went on and made it a good pace so I could slot in. He showed his class at the end.”
It was a fourth win in nine starts for Space Blues, who has also posted wins at four characteristically different racecourse the UK including Nottingham, York, Epsom and Haydock.
First staged in 1867, the seven-furlong contest for three-year-olds and over has been won by several horses with a Dubai connection with Godolphin having won the race twice with the Andre Fabre-trained Inns Of Court in 2017 and Saeed Bin Surour’s Josr Algarhoud in 2000.
In 1987, Balbonella became the first Dubai-owned winner of the Porte Maillot, when ridden by Gary Moore to victory in the colours of the Late Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Since then, no less than four more horses from the UAE have triumphed in the Paris feature including Efaadah, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, in 2018.
The Prix de la Porte Maillot was the second of two Group 3s run on the 10-race card.
The first, the La Coupe, was won by another British raider, the Hughie Morrison-trained Telecaster, who outclassed his rivals with a smooth success under Christophe Soumillon.
“He’s quite a buzzy horse and you have to channel that,” said Soumillon. “Fortunately they went a good pace and he settled in my hands so when I asked him for his effort he responded really well. He is strong and he was ready so like many English horses, he loved it when there was pace in the race. He did it very easily and while it wasn’t the race of the year, he was very good.”