Darsi Delivers Perfect Birthday Gift for Soumillon

Darsi provided jockey Christophe Soumillon with a memorable birthday present when winning the Prix du Jockey-Club Mitsubishi Motors (Fr-I) (French Derby) on Sunday at Chantilly.

Soumillon, who turned 25 on Sunday, was adding a third victory to his previous triumphs in the Paris showpiece. He had also won the classic aboard Anabaa Blue in 2001 and Dalakhani in 2003.

It was the seventh Prix du Jockey-Club victory for the colt's owner and breeder, His Highness the Aga Khan, and it was the fifth win for his trainer, Alain de Royer-Dupre. The victory was handsome compensation for the owner and jockey, who had teamed up to finish a disappointing fifth the previous day with Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) favorite, Visindar.

Darsi, a bay son of Polish Precedent out of Darashandeh, by Darshaan, lowered the course record for 1 & 5/16 miles that had stood for 21 years. Best Name was a fast-closing second, with Arras hanging on for third. Favored Aussie Rules, ridden by Kieren Fallon, was never in contention and finished seventh.

After the race, the Aga Khan told reporters, "We weren't sure whether this horse would have enough speed to drop back in trip but he is from a very high-class family and I am delighted. Provided he comes out of this race well, there is a chance he will go for either the Irish Derby (Ire-I) or Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I)."