A soft course at Deauville helped the Kentucky-bred 3-year-old Whipper win Sunday's Prix Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) at the same time it extracted a promise from the connections of Attraction to never try that type of footing again.
A mile specialist, Whipper, ridden by Christophe Soumillon, won with style against a talented field. The Robert Collet-trained 3-year-old colt by Miesque's Son went to the lead on the straight course with a furlong to go and held off Six Perfections in the final 100 yards to win by a length. My Risk was 1 1/2 lengths farther back in third, followed by Majestic Desert.
Whipper and Six Perfections raced in mid-pack as Attraction and pacemaker Fomalhaut set out briskly. Midway through, jockey Kevin Darley was asking the British star for more. With two furlongs to run, she lost position, eventually coming home last of 10.
Majestic Desert took over from there as Six Perfections rallied along the rail. But Whipper came best of all, sweeping past Majestic Desert and My Risk with an eighth of a mile to go and keeping his advantage safe from Six Perfections and Thierry Thulliez.
Collet had brought Whipper back just a week after he ran second in the Prix Maurice De Gheest (Fr-I).
Flaxman Holdings Ltd., bred Whipper, who is out of the dam Myth to Reality (by Sadler's Wells). R.c. Strauss owns him.
Trainer Mark Johnston had wrestled with the decision to send Attraction Sunday, so he was not surprised that it didn't go well.
"We talked ourselves into the race having previously said we would never run Attraction any time on soft ground," he told Racing Post
. "There were two factors involved. She doesn't bend her knees very much and her least impressive win during her career was on soft ground in a minor race at Thirsk.
"Attraction will never run on soft ground again."
Darley concurred, adding, "She just hated it and we were beaten four out. She began to swim soon after the start."
Alan Cooper, racing manager for the Niarchos Family, said afterward that Six Perfections will go for her second victory in Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Lonestar Park.
Salselon finished fifth, followed by Kheleyf, Baqah, Fomalhaut, Byron and Attraction.