Dubai: When you have three horses belonging to the same stable in a race and two of them finish 1-2 you have got to be happy with the result, even if the rider of the runner-up is not.
James Doyle, riding the favourite and 2019 Horse of the Year Pinatubo in the first colours of Godolphin, found it hard to digest the defeat as fellow Godolphin-owned Persian King stole the honours in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on Sunday.
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The former French Derby winner was bouncing back from a fourth-place effort in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (Group 1) to gift trainer Andre Fabre a sixth success in the prestigious mile and Godolphin a fourth after Ribchester (2017), Librettist (2006) and Slickly (2001).
French rider Pierre-Charles Boudot, on board Persian King, tracked the frontrunning Circus Maximus, the defending champion for most of the trip before going for home - approaching the final two furlongs.
The son of Kingsman changed gears and pulled clear leaving his rivals, including Pinatubo and Doyle with too much to do in the closing stages, despite the horse giving his all.
Boudot, riding his first winner in the Moulin, said: “I wanted to be on the pace today and the horse didn’t quite break on terms with Circus Maximus. He went faster upfront and I left my horse to gallop in his own rhythm. He was very relaxed and just very good today.
“He began to pick up the bit a little in the false straight and when I pulled him wide he showed all of his talent. Last time out the ground was atrocious and, while I’m delighted he’s won today, he has always been a great horse.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve ridden anything other than a regular race but I’m lucky to work for a genius and the horse had a great run up to this race and arrived here in top form,” he added.
“I was confident going into the race and he has a great stride on him and he doesn’t give you the impression you’re travelling very fast. He has a high cruising speed and that’s what kills the others off.”
Not content with second place, Doyle said: “It’s annoying when the front two get a break on you like that but we were mindful of the mile and we wanted to ride him patiently.
“I followed Siskin and he elected to give the front two a bit of a gap and he’s a horse that, when you do pull him into space, he lights up so we just had to sit and suffer. But he’s made up a lot of ground and the mile is definitely no problem.”
Circus Maximus and Ryan Moore held on to finish third narrowly in front of Siskin and Victor Ludorum, the third Godolphin runner, with Romanised a few lengths back in last of the six runners.
André Fabre had previously won the Longchamp showpiece with Soviet Star (1988), Polish Precedent (1989), Ski Paradise (1994), Nebraska Tornado (2003), Grey Lilas (2004) and Vadamos (2016).