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Air Pilot earns Ganay ticket

08 April 2018

A dozen runners took to ParisLongchamp on its re-opening yesterday for the Gr.2 Prix d’Harcourt, one of the more important early-season targets for older horses, and while the French were well-armed for the contest, it was the British-trained veteran, Air Pilot, who confirmed last month’s Prix Exbury success at a snowy Saint-Cloud.
Sent off better-supported this time around, despite facing a tougher test, Christophe Soumillon kept the nine year-old towards the rear of the field and only began to make his move as they entered the straight. With just over a furlong to run, he found himself sparring with Théo Bachelot and 75/1 shot, Royal Julius, in the final stages, but quickly had their measure and ran on to win with 1¾ lengths to spare. Star Victory and Way To Paris finished a close third and fourth respectively. 
Soumillon, who admitted to not having yet taken to the renovated home of racing, said of the winner, “He’s and incredible horse, that goes anywhere and gets the job done whether it snows or the sun shines. His final 200m were marvellous. He has dealt with heavy going; now we’ll see how he gets on in the Prix Ganay in three weeks’ time.” Winning trainer, Ralph Beckett, has not, however, confirmed the Ganay is his charge’s next objective.



Picture: Air Pilot landing Prix d'Harcourt in a renovated ParisLongchamp