Olmedo won the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the French 2000 Guineas, and Teppal scored an upset in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, the French 1000 Guineas, on a strange Sunday program at Longchamp.
After the pacesetting U S Navy Flag stumbled with about three furlongs left in the Poulains, a group of riders, apparently with Christophe Soumillon’s the loudest voice, complained of unsafe track conditions on the part of the Longchamp course, the so-called middle track, that was being used for the two Guineas races. The Pouliches was delayed more than a half-hour before being switched to the outer course.
Longchamp reopened this season following two years of renovations, and the Guineas races were moved this year to the middle course because outside draws on the outer course are considered highly unfavorable.
It’s unclear why U S Navy Flag stumbled, but he immediately regained his stride and held gamely to the final furlong. It was there that Olmedo, the race’s second choice behind Wootton, found his best stride under Christian Demuro, finishing with a flourish on the outside of Hey Gaman, Dice Roll, and U S Navy Flag to get up by a neck over Hey Gaman. Jean-Claude Rouget trains Olmedo, a son of Declaration of War and Super Pie, by Pivotal, who won for just the second time in five races but has never finished worse than second. Olmedo was timed in 1:37.72 for the mile on good going.
Hey Gaman had a busy 2-year-old campaign and had finished third while making his 3-year-old debut in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes. On Sunday, he turned in the best performance of his life for England-based trainer James Tate, getting his nose down in front of Dice Roll, who had a three-race winning streak snapped.
In fourth was Wootton, who had beaten Olmedo on April 15 in the Prix de Fontainebleau but made several mistakes Sunday. Wootton broke last and ceded precious position, then raced too keenly and wound up making a huge middle move around the turn that carried him into contention but left him with no late acceleration.
One race later, Teppal won the Pouliches by a head over Coeur de Beaute to give English trainer David Simcock his first win in a classic race. Ridden by Olivier Peslier, Teppal won two very minor races in England last year at 2 and stepped way up in class Sunday, but after pulling a favorable trip just behind the leaders, Teppal – by Camacho and out of Jummana, by Cadeaux Generaux – rallied for a narrow victory.
Wind Chimes, on the outside, and Capla Temptress, between horses, both finished well but too late, while the favored Musis Amica was left with too much to do, her wide late run landing a sixth-place finish in a race that might not have definitively sorted these fillies.
• In Ireland on Sunday, Hazapour earned a start in the Epsom Derby with a win in the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown. Hazapour is a son of Shamardal trained by Dermot Weld for the Aga Khan.