Clear 'Vision' in Prix du Jockey-Club
Photo: Trevor Jones
Vision d'Etat (left) remained undefeated with a determined head victory over Famous Name in the Prix du Jockey-Club.
Vision d’Etat remained undefeated with a determined head victory over Famous Name in the Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I) at Chantilly June 1.

The win marked the first in group I company for the modestly-bred son of Chichicastenango.  Prior to the French classic, the Eric Libaud trainee had only competed in listed company, capturing the Prix de Suresnes over the same course at the end of April.

A full field of 20 went to the post for this year’s renewal of the Prix du Jockey-Club, with Prix La Force (Fr-III) winner High Rock going off as the slight favorite.  Even though Vision d’Etat went off as the second choice, most eyes were on the gray filly Natagora, who was attempting to become the first member of the distaff set to capture the French classic in 134 years.

Designated pacesetter Mayweather shot right to the front and was joined quickly by Natagora.  Those two led the cavalry charge of 3-year-olds for the first half-mile.  Longshot Blue Bresil joined the duo at that point, and jockey Frankie Dettori, aboard Natagora, decided to take his filly back a bit to give her a breather.

Vision d’Etat, under Ioritz Mendizabal, tracked the leaders from fifth, never letting them build too much of a lead.  High Rock sat just behind Vision d’Etat, and the son of Rock of Gibraltar appeared ready to pounce at any time under Christophe Lemaire.

As the field entered the straight, Mayweather desperately clung to the lead, but Natagora began to make her move.  The One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) victress took command with under two furlongs left, but couldn’t withstand the challenge of Vision d’Etat, who began to pull away from the filly.

Famous Name, the highly-regarded Dansili colt trained by Dermot Weld, had all kinds of traffic problems throughout the early stages of the race, and entered the straightaway with 13 horses still in front of him.  After jockey Pat Smullen angled him to the outside, Famous Name closed like a rocket, but just couldn’t get past Vision d’Etat. 

Natagora hung on for third, another 1 1/2-lengths farther back.  Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:08.6 over the soft turf course.

Vision d’Etat was bred in France by Gaetan Gilles and is owned by Jacques Detre.  By dual group I-winner Chichicastenango, the bay colt is out of the Garde Royale mare, Uberaba.  Vision d’Etat hails from the female family of champion Stage Door Johnny.

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