China Visit Bests Jim and Tonic at Longchamp

Godolphin scored a win in the Prix du Rond-Point Casino Barriere de la Rochelle (Fr-II) at Longchamp Saturday -- one day before they send out favored Sakhee in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) -- when China Visit held off Jim and Tonic for the one-length victory. China Visit, a 4-year-old son of Red Ransom, completed the mile in 1:44 4/5 on ground listed as "very soft."

Jockey Frankie Dettori sent last year's U.A.E. Derby winner to the front from the outset and the Saeed bin Suroor trainee built a three-length lead as they entered the stretch. Jim and Tonic, last early on and fifth of six as they turned for home, rallied well but could not catch the winner. Lugny came home third, another four lengths back. Ethelinda, Domedriver, and Maumee completed the order of finish.

Since taking the U.A.E. Derby in March of 2000, China Visit had won only one subsequent race prior to Saturday, that coming in round one of the Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum Challenge in January. Saturday's win marks his fourth in nine career starts. He was bred in Kentucky at Gainsborough Farm.

"He won at Deauville on very soft ground when he was two so we didn't think that it would be a problem," Godolphin's racing manager, Simon Crisford, said on their Web site. "Noverre is our horse for the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) but it would be nice to think that we could find a group I for China Visit on very soft ground."

Jim and Tonic's trainer explained to the French Racing and Breeding Committee that the track condition hampered Jim and Tonic's chances.

"Jim and Tonic is a group I horse on fast ground and only a group III horse on soft," said Fran├žois Doumen.