Ruwi won the Prix Noailles (Fr-II) for 3-year-olds at Longchamp Sunday, but trainer Jean-Claude Rouget was more concerned about what happens next in France's revised program.
Rouget wasn't criticizing the decision to reduce the distance of the Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I) from 12 furlongs to 10 1/2, the first reduction in the French Derby's distance in 169 years. The problem, he said, is a suitable prep race for the Chantilly classic.
"Ruwi would have now gone for the Prix Lupin, but it no longer exists," Rouget told Racing Post
. "That gives me the option of running him left-handed in the Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud over ten furlongs, or coming back to Longchamp for the 11-furlong Prix Hocquart.
"If we decide on the latter, it would mean bringing Ruwi back in distance for the Jockey-Club. This new program has been created by irresponsible intellectuals and its value is zero."
The English-bred Ruwi, ridden by Ioritz Mendizabal, defeated four rivals in the Prix Noailles, contested at 110 yards longer than 1 1/4 miles on very heavy going, in 2:21.1. Ruwi finished three lengths in front of Gold Sound, with Silver Cross a half-length farther behind in third. Desideratum finished fourth.
Ruwi raced last until the final quarter of a mile when the 3-year-old son of Unfuwain moved up smoothly on the outside and hit the front with 150 yards to go, winning comfortably.
The European Pattern Race Committee approved the French racing changes in January. Distances for the Prix Jean Prat (mile from nine furlongs) and Grand Prix de Paris (12 furlongs from ten) were also changed. The Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud is no longer open to 3-year-olds.