Imperial Monarch continued Aidan O’Brien’s superb year as he held on for a short head victory over Last Train to win the Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I) at Longchamp July 14.
It was the first group I victory for the 3-year-old son of Galileo, whose connections then had to withstand a lengthy stewards’ inquiry before being awarded the win.
A field of nine 3-year-olds went to the post in the Grand Prix de Paris, with Imperial Monarch being sent off the slight favorite. Imperial Monarch broke alertly under Joseph O’Brien to assume the lead. He was tracked closely by Hard Dream and Last Train as the Investec Derby (Eng-I) runner-up, Main Sequence, was in behind them as he raced along the rail.
Imperial Monarch set a comfortable pace as he led the field through the early stages of the race. The field began to bunch up as the runners entered the home straight, and running room became tight. This became a major factor for Main Sequence, who made a move along the rail only to be shut off by Imperial Monarch and Last Train.
Jockey Ted Durcan then switched Main Sequence out to the center of the course and the duo charged again, only to be impeded once more as Imperial Monarch drifted to his right while under pressure from O’Brien’s left-handed whip.
At the wire it was Imperial Monarch just holding off the late charge of Last Train. Saint Baudolino was a half-length back in third, with the luckless Main Sequence three-quarters of a length farther back in fourth. The result was left unchanged after a lengthy inquiry.
Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:35.47 over the soft going.
After the race Aidan O’Brien told reporters, “He’s done well because he was very green in front and it was his first time over a mile and a half. It wasn’t necessarily the plan to lead, that was up to Joseph, but he was drawn well if he wanted to.”
O’Brien continued, “It’s been very, very difficult as all our gallops have been flooded since Epsom and the horses get very tired training on the all-weather.”
Imperial Monarch races for Susan Magnier, and was bred in Ireland by David Magnier and Cobra Bloodstock. He is out of Ionian Sea, a stakes-winning daughter of Slip Anchor, who also produced Mount Athos (by Montjeu), winner of the listed John Smith’s Silver Cup at York earlier on Saturday.