Hightori, fifth in last year's Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), won his prep for this year's renewal, holding off Idaho Quest to win the Prix Foy Gray d'Albion Barriere (Fr-II) on Sunday at Longchamp.
Hightori raced behind pacesetter Golani through most of the race, then took the lead with 1 1/2 furlongs to run and completed the 1 1/2-mile course in 2:30.10 on good turf. Idaho Quest finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Slew the Red, with Little Rock fourth in the six-horse field.
"It is a solid performance, but it doesn't seem to me that it is enough to win an Arc," Andy Smith, manager for owner Gary Tanaka, told the French Racing and Breeding Committee. "Anyway the jockey had said before the race that he would not give him a hard race three weeks before and that might be the answer."
"I love this horse. He is very nice and has lots of quality," winning rider Gerald Mosse told the FRBC. "When he hits the front too soon her has a tendency to wait on the others and this is why he might give the impression that he didn't win too easily. But he did win easily and I am quite happy to ride him in the Arc."
After winning his 4-year-old debut in March, Hightori (Vettori--High Mecene, by Highest Honor) was held winless in four subsequent starts prior to Sunday, while hitting the board in each of the Dubai Wold Cup (UAE-I), Prix d'Ispahan (Fr-I), Prince of Wales's Stakes (Eng-I), and King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I). He has now won six of 13 career starts, including three group III races. Hightori was bred in France by S.C.E.A. Ecurie Bader and is trained by Philippe Demercastel.