Reliable Man kept his perfect record intact as he rolled past Bubble Chic in the final yards to capture the $1,213,290 Prix du Jockey-Club, or French Derby (Fr-I) at Chantilly June 5.
The son of Dalakhani provided trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre with his sixth victory in the French classic. The Chantilly-based conditioner, who trains Reliable Man for the Pride Racing Club, also won the Jockey-Club with the colt’s sire in 2003.
Jockey Gerald Mosse kept Reliable Man settled at the rear of the field as Casamento broke alertly and was sent straight to the front by Frankie Dettori. They were soon joined by Roderic O'Connor, with jockey Ryan Moore determined not to let Casamento have an easy lead. The pair sailed along on the front end throughout much of the early part of the race, setting a relatively swift tempo as they went.
As the field entered the home straight, Bubble Chic grabbed the lead as Casamento and Roderic O’Connor paid for their earlier exertions and began to fade. Mosse went to work aboard Reliable Man and the pair advanced on the leader, weaving their way through traffic from the back of the pack.
With just over a furlong to run, Mosse got Reliable Man into the clear on the outside and the duo set their sights on Bubble Chic, who had a one-length advantage on the field. Reliable Man, under a strong drive by Mosse, rapidly cut into Bubble Chic’s lead, shooting past that colt within the shadow of the wire to win by a comfortable three-quarters of a length.
Favorite Baraan, who broke poorly and spotted the field several lengths at the start, closed well to finish third, another two lengths behind Bubble Chic. Final time for the 12.5 furlongs was 2:07.70 over the soft going.
The Prix du Jockey-Club was the first start in a stakes race for Reliable Man, who only began his career in early April. The gray colt had notched wins in a maiden race and a conditions race prior to his group I victory.
Regardless of his lack of seasoning, Royer-Dupre always had faith in the colt, telling the press after the race, “He’s a horse of great quality. We decided on coming here after he won his first race at Saint-Cloud.
“He’s got a lot of class, but it’s all still very new to him. We’ll probably aim at the Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I, July 14) next with him.”
Reliable Man was bred in England by N.P. Bloodstock. He is out of the stakes-winning Sadler’s Wells’ mare On Fair Stage. His second dam, Fair Salinia, won the English Oaks (Eng-I), Irish Oaks (Ire-I), and Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I), as a 3-year-old in 1978.