/ Racing

Le Havre lands French Derby

Updated: Sunday, 07 Jun 2009 18:38

Ballydoyle's Westphalia did well to finish third from a terrible draw at Chantilly
Ballydoyle's Westphalia did well to finish third from a terrible draw at Chantilly

Le Havre came with a power-packed late drive to land the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

The Christophe Lemaire-ridden winner was completing an amazing four-timer on the card for all-conquering trainer Jean-Claude Rouget, who had earlier bagged two Group Three events.

Fuisse finished second with Aidan O'Brien's Westphalia third and well-fancied Beheshtam fourth.

Lemaire was happy to settle in the pack as the free-running Feels All Right and O'Brien's pacesetter Set Sail battled for the early lead.

Favourite and French 2000 Guineas winner Silver Frost took up a prominent position in fourth on the inside rail and he was still sitting on the heels of the leaders turning into the straight.

However, when Olivier Peslier switched him for a run, he found little as Fuisse pushed on with Johnny Murtagh weaving through in search of a clear passage on Westphalia.

However, Lemaire had crept up the inner on French Guineas runner-up Le Havre and he showed an admirable change of gear to accelerate away and come home a clear winner.

O'Brien's other runners, Malibu Bay, Set Sail and Drumbeat, were all out of the frame along with Godolphin's Parthenon, who was never able to take up his preferred front-running role.

Rouget said: ‘It's fantastic to be here and to win four races in one afternoon - the Jockey Club is the icing on the cake.

‘I didn't know if the horse would stay 10 furlongs as his pedigree is very fast, and because I wasn't sure, I wasn't overly confident.

‘This season has been magnificent. All the horses are very well in themselves. We have been doing the same job at home but they are better horses.’

O'Brien said: ‘He ran well and I am delighted with him.

‘He has put in a solid performance but was drawn very wide (13) and had to come wide with his challenge.

‘Ideally we would have liked to have been drawn lower and the winner has come from a low draw. But the winner was second in the French 2000 Guineas and we were third so the form looks solid.’

Criquette Head-Maarek said of the runner-up: ‘The horse started his run too soon but it was a big effort from him. I thought at one stage he would win.’

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