The Grey Gatsby Streaks to French Derby Win
Ridden by Ryan Moore for North Yorkshire-based trainer Kevin Ryan, The Grey Gatsby got a ground-saving trip along the rail from near the back of the 16-horse field to land the French classic. He did not have the look of a winner before the race, however, as he was quite worked up. But he traveled well after the opening quarter mile once Moore got him settled into a comfortable rhythm.
Into the straight, Moore deftly drove a willing The Grey Gatsby through gaps as they opened and the colt surged past runner-up Shamkiyr en route to a three-length victory at 12-1 odds with Racing Post.
Final time for 2,100 meters (about 1 5/16 miles) was 2:05.58 on good turf.
Jean-Francois Gribomont's Prix Greffulhe (Fr-II) victor Prince Gibraltar, the 2-1 favorite, finished third, a short neck behind the Aga Khan's Shamkiyr, a recent eight-length maiden winner at Saint-Cloud.
The Niarchos family's Poule d'Essai des Poulains (Fr-I, French Two Thousand Guineas ) victor Karakontie was denied a second French classic win, finishing eighth in his first trip beyond a mile.
The Grey Gatsby, from the first crop of Coolmore's Irish-based Mastercraftsman, came into the French Derby off a mild upset over hot favorite True Story in York's Dante Stakes (Eng-II) at about 1 1/4 miles May 15. He was second to Toormore in the one-mile Craven Stakes (Eng-I) in April at Newmarket to start the year before finishing 10th, beaten 5 3/4 lengths, in the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) there May 3.
"At the start of the race there was no way that Ryan Moore was where he wanted to be," Ryan told England's Press Association about the French Derby trip. "But after about three furlongs he managed to work his way into a position where he could ride a race.
"A lot people knocked his win in the Dante, but he still does not have very much experience," Ryan added. "He will probably have a little break and we might think about a race like the Juddmonte (International [Eng-I], in August) back at York. But having watched that win, we might think about stepping him up a bit further in trip."
The Grey Gatsby was twice group-placed as a juvenile, finishing second in the Acomb Stakes (Eng-III) at York following his debut win there. He was subsequently second in the Champagne Stakes (Eng-II) at Doncaster. His overall record stands at 3-3-0 from eight starts.
The gray colt sold twice at public auction in France, most recently for €120,000 ($155,906 in United States funds) at the 2013 Arqana breeze-up sale, where he was acquired by Stephen Hillen Bloodstock from consignor Grove Stud, agent.
Bred in Ireland by Malcolm Parrish, The Grey Gatsby is one of two winners out of the Entrepreneur mare Marie Vison, who was stakes-placed in France. Second dam Metisse, is a half sister to French group I winners Septieme Ciel and Macoumba and to United States grade III winner Maxigroom.
Wild Chief finished fourth in the French Derby, followed by Gonna Run, Mr Pommeroy, Aventador, Karakontie, Galiway, Prestige Vendome, Ayrad, Master's Spirit, Earnshaw, Free Port Lux, Nolohay, and Stillman.
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