Zambezi Sun Wins Controversial Grand Prix de Paris

Zambezi Sun rolled to an impressive five-length victory in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I), a race that was marred by the spill of Eagle Mountain and jockey Kieren Fallon.

Eagle Mountain had been placed in both the Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) and Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I), and was sent off the favorite for Saturday’s contest. The Aidan O’Brien trainee appeared to have been bumped slightly by Zambezi Sun when both colts were in tight quarters about four furlongs into the race.

Eagle Mountain clipped heels with the horse in front of him, and sent Fallon tumbling to the ground.   The rider was then hit by the two horses trailing him.  Fallon was examined both on track and at a local hospital, where all x-rays came back negative.  The jockey has been given the all-clear to ride in the Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) at The Curragh on Sunday.

In the meantime, Eagle Mountain continued to race with the rest of the field, and appeared none the worse for wear afterwards.

Jockey Stephane Pasquier bided his time on Zambezi Sun, but cranked up the gears with about five furlongs left to run.  The pair took a position behind longtime leader Axxos, and swept past that rival with just over a furlong to run, on their way to an emphatic victory.

Axxos held on for second by a neck over Sagara, who was hampered slightly by the riderless Eagle Mountain.

The victory celebration had to wait, however, as Aidan O’Brien lodged an appeal against Pasquier and Zambezi Sun.  Thierry Gillet, jockey of third-place finisher Sagara, also lodged an appeal against second-place Axxos.  After a lengthy review, stewards allowed the results to stand.

The victory of Zambezi Sun marked the second straight year a Juddmonte Farm homebred captured the race.  Rail Link won the Grand Prix de Paris last year on his way to taking the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I).  

Winning trainer Pascal Bary said after the race, “The horse won so easily, it would have been harsh to take it away from him.”

Zambezi Sun is a 3-year-old colt by Dansili, out of Imbabala, by Zafonic.

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