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A blistering pace and holding ground meant that very few runners were seen with a chance as Benbaun led a British-trained one-two-three finish in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Majestic Barriere de Cannes (Fr-I) at five furlongs Oct. 7 at Longchamp.
Trained in Newmarket by Irishman Mark Wallace, Benbaun was settled on the heels of the leaders disputing fifth- or sixth-place throughout before jockey Pat Smullen asked for an effort inside the final quarter-mile. Benbaun responded by lengthening his stride and flashed past his rivals to lead approaching the final furlong.
Benbaun, owned by Ransley, Birks, and Hillen and bred in Ireland by Dr. Tony Ryan, won his fourth race in five starts this season. It was his 12th win in all and his first in a group I stakes.
Six-year-old Benbaun is by former United States-based stallion Stravinsky, who now plies his trade at Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan. He’s out of Escape to Victory, by Salse.
Wallace plans to send Benbaun to Hong Kong and Australia later this year, but the horse will be given a two-week break.
Benbaun covered the distance in :56.70 and finished two lengths ahead of second-place finisher Kingsgate Native, a 2-year-old colt who earlier won the Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I). The rain-soaked ground seemed to compromise his ability to quicken instantly, which prevented him from keeping tabs on the winner when he made his move.
Third-place finisher Desert Lord, last year’s winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye, disputed the lead with Moss Vale and Derison. However, none of that trio could raise their game when Benbaun kicked on.