Spiritjim Denies Noble Mission in France
With Frankel's pacesetting full brother Noble Mission running out of energy in the closing stages of the June 29 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I), Spiritjim was there to capitalize and won by a head in the last stride.
Noble Mission led from the start in the 2,400-meter (about 1 1/2-mile) race and appeared to have the endurance to prevail with James Doyle, but in the final 100 yards his front-running efforts took a toll as he became noticeably leg weary. Three lengths back in second a furlong out, Spiritjim closed willingly with Christophe Lemaire and got up for the narrow win on the finish line.
The winner and runner-up are both sons of Coolmore's leading European sire Galileo.
Trained by Pascal Bary for Ecurie Hspirit, Spiritjim won his fourth consecutive race—all stakes—this year and first at the top level. He entered with back-to-back group victories in the May 8 Prix d'Hedouville (Fr-II) and the June 1 Grand Prix de Chantilly (Fr-II). He has an overall record of 7-0-0 from nine career starts.
Siljan's Saga, tracking just behind Spiritjim, rallied strongly and nearly snatched second from Noble Mission, just missing in finishing a neck back in third. Flintshire, the 6-4 favorite, raced in midfield early before finishing fifth in the seven-horse field.
Noble Mission, trained by Jane Cecil, and Flintshire, trained by Andre Fabre, are both Juddmonte homebreds
Spiritjim earned consideration for a shot at the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), Europe's premier middle-distance race, in October at Longchamp.
"You could see the other horse's stride shortening just as my horse accelerated," Bary told Racing Post. "Now he'll go for the Arc, with a comeback run at Longchamp beforehand. He has had four hard races a month apart and he deserves a rest.
"He's a super horse. He always gives his running and 2,400 meters is really his perfect trip. The softening of the ground suits him as well as the other horse making it a proper test."
A 4-year-old, Spiritjim was timed in 2:34.83 for the distance on soft turf.
Spiritjim was bred in France by Haras des Sablonnets, Comte Herve de Talhouet-Roy and Bloodstock Amarvillas. He is out of the winning Anabaa mare Hidden Silver, who also is the dam of 2009 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (Fr-I, French Two Thousand Guineas) winner Silver Frost, by Verglas. He was a €310,000 purchase by MAB Agency at the 2011 Arqana October yearling sale.
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