Calandagan flies French tricolour at Royal Ascot

29 June 2024

Calandagan

In quite the display, Calandagan and Stéphane Pasquier ran out victorious in the Gr.2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot just one week ago. Five years had it been since the previous French winner at the meeting.

In fact, five years to the day since Watch Me won the Coronation Stakes, breaking a lengthy famine at the most prestigious flat meeting the UK has to offer. It took an Aga Khan homebred and a talented 47yo handler.

And so it was that a Francis Graffard-trained 3yo sealed the deal, this time by 6L, and this time by a gelding no less. And who is this Calandagan? By Gleneagles, won four of his six races, limits have yet to be defined…but having been gelded late last year, a number of important races are now closed to him. 

Winning two Gr.3’s in succession (Prix Noailles,14 April and Prix Hocquart, 23 May) opened the Royal Ascot door to him and, now a Gr.2 winner, the logical step is to aim higher. But in order to run the top-level races open to him, he will need to travel abroad.

As for Pasquier, he too was celebrating his 2nd Royal Ascot winner, but had to wait 17 years for it. It was in 2007 that he rode the André Fabre-trained, and German-owned, Manduro to victory in the Gr.1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes. After the King Edward, Pasquier said, “He’s definitely a Group 1 horse. You don’t win a Gr.2 at Royal Ascot by underestimating the English.”

British-bred Mondo Man, trained in France by Swedes, missed the break but finished a decent 4th of 14. He caught the eye when 5th in the Prix du Jockey-Club, and has proven that he can hold his own, in good company, over 2400m.

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