Skalleti got up on the line to open his Group One account in a thrilling renewal of the Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp.
Jerome Reynier’s six-year-old – who was runner-up to Addeybb in the Champion Stakes last year and again has Ascot as his big target – came with a steady run on the outside in the hands of weighing-room veteran Gerald Mosse to break the heart of Charlie Hills’ British raider Tilsit.
The late withdrawal of The Revenant due to the drying ground robbed the race of one of its star names, but it still provided a great thrill for those racegoers lucky enough to be in attendance.
Ecrivan made the running until Victor Cheminaud made his bid on Tilsit early in the straight. The four-year-old, wearing the Juddmonte Farms colours, tried to kick on a furlong and a half out, but he was soon challenged by Ioritz Mendizabal on the William Haggas-trained My Oberon.
Meanwhile, Skalleti (4-6 favourite) was gradually making inroads and his bid was timed to perfection to snatch an unlikely head verdict.
“We knew he was in good shape. We were very happy with his two runs this year, but the fact he was going on a firm track and over a distance quite short for what he’s best at, I think it’s just amazing,” Reynier told Sky Sports Racing.
“I don’t think it was the strongest Group One of the year, but the way he has done it coming from the back like that he is showing he is a very good horse and he deserves his Group One victory. Now we are hoping for some other ones by the end of the year.
“We were thinking of going for the Tattersalls Gold Cup (at the Curragh) last week, but because of the logistics due to Covid we came here and and he has the French premiums to boost his prize-money.
“We are going to stick to the plan if he is good shape. Now he is going to have some holidays because he deserves them. We are hoping to come back even better at the end of the year.”
Reynier was capping a fine day, having also taken the Group Three Prix du Palais-Royal with Marianafoot as well as completing a treble on the card with Elusive Foot.
“Marianafoot is a lovely horse, but it was really sad we didn’t have him to score many goals unfortunately as he had to take it easy for nearly all of last year. But he came back maybe better than ever and we are very happy to win a Group Three in France with him,” he said.
“He won a Group Two in Qatar, but he really deserves this win here in France.
“He can stretch to a mile if there is enough pace, but his ideal trip could be the Prix Maurice de Gheest, six and a half furlongs on a straight course (at Deauville) and that is why we tried him last time over the straight course at Chantilly.
“He has done it well so he is in great shape and we need to keep him like that to try to win a Group One with him.”
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