Dual Oaks winner Enable is a firming favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after French stars Brametot and Almanzor were upstaged by British challengers Eminent and First Sitting in the two feature events at Deauville.
Jean-Claude Rouget’s pair of aces were looking to seal their places in some of the autumn’s biggest races on Tuesday but instead their performances provided more questions than answers.
Brametot, winner of both the French 2000 Guineas and the French Derby, was considered one of the home team’s biggest hopes for this year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe before his appearance in the Group Two Prix Guillaume d’Ornano.
But after being settled at the rear of the field, he was unable to pick up in the straight and Martyn Meade’s stable star Eminent was away and gone after being given an excellent front-running ride from Ryan Moore.
Having finished sixth in the 2000 Guineas, fourth in the Epsom Derby and fifth in the Coral-Eclipse, Meade was ecstatic to see his pride and joy enjoy his day in the sun.
“He had a clear run and showed how good he is. I’m absolutely thrilled,” Meade said.
“Beating a dual Classic winner in France is quite exciting stuff.”
Almanzor won the French Derby, the Irish Champion Stakes and the Champion Stakes during a brilliant 2016 campaign and although he had been out of action for over 300 days, he was favourite to make a winning return in the Group Three Prix Gontaut-Biron.
However, after travelling well enough into the home straight, the response was minimal when Christophe Soumillon asked for maximum effort and he was ultimately well beaten.
The John Gosden-trained Enable is a best-priced 6-4 and odds-on with one bookmaker for the Arc on October 1.