Soldier of Fortune Marches to Victory in Prix Niel

Soldier of Fortune made his return to racing a winning one by capturing the Prix Niel Casino Barriere d’Enghien Les Bains (Fr-II) at Longchamp Sept. 16.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained 3-year-old had not raced since running away with the Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I) in July. Soldier of Fortune proved that his victory in the Irish Derby wasn’t a fluke, easily winning by 1 1/2-lengths and setting a new stakes record in the process.

The Prix Niel has been the most prolific source of winners of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) recently, with both Rail Link and Hurricane Run capturing the Prix Niel on their way to winning the Arc. A field of six went to the post for the contest, with Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I) winner Zambezi Sun vying for favoritism with Soldier of Fortune.

Johnny Murtagh kept Soldier of Fortune just off the pace set by stablemate Song of Hiawatha as they galloped at a good clip through the first mile. As they straightened for home, Soldier of Fortune took command and won driven out.

Sagara and Zambezi Sun moved strongly in the stretch, but had to settle for fighting it out for the minor awards. Sagara won that battle, finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Zambezi Sun.

Time for the 12 furlongs was 2:25.6 over the good turf course.

The top three finishers will more than likely line up next Oct. 7 in the Arc, where they may face Authorized and Dylan Thomas, among others.

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