Riding great Frankie Dettori celebrated another landmark at Longchamp on Sunday as Dabirsim’s win in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere gave him his 500th Group race winner.
The 40-year-old Italian produced one of his trademark cool rides on the odds-on favourite in the Group One race for juvenile colts.
The exuberant Italian performed one of his customary leaps from the saddle and then with tears in his eyes embraced trainer Christophe Ferland, who trains in the unfashionable provinces.
“It’s magnificent, it’s a big number. Wonderful!” said Dettori, after landing one of the six Group One races — apart from the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe — on offer.
Dettori added another to his total in the final Group One of the day, the Prix de l’Opera when he engineered a late flourish from Nahrain to win on the line.
It was an emotional winner as it was trained as a juvenile by Arc-winning trainer Michael Jarvis who died the week before last and whose long time assistant Roger Varian took over the stables when he became too ill in February.
France’s great miler Goldikova was upstaged in the Prix de La Foret as English raider Dream Ahead, under a great ride by Norway-born William Buick, got up to edge the Freddie Head-trained 14-time Group One winner.
For 22-year-old Buick it was his second Group One of an eventful afternoon as he along with trainer John Gosden and Gosden’s wife Rachel Hood had been detained under suspicion of spying when they landed at a private airstrip.
“We were met by giggling gendarmes who asked us to accompany them to the police station,” recounted a bemused Gosden.
“They said they had no choice as Air Traffic Control had ordered them to because we had apparently flown over some secret nuclear establishment.
“It’s a route we have often taken and when I looked down the only sight I saw were people on the beach near Calais.”
All three were allowed to go on to Longchamp after handing over their passports.
They all found themselves on more familiar territory when they collected the Prix Marcel Boussac with Elusive Kate, while another of Head’s hot favourites Zantenda could finish only third.
Kasbah Bliss had taken the Prix du Cadran, in the opening race of the card, at the fourth time of asking under a nerveless ride by Gerald Mosse.
The nine-year-old former top national hunt horse – who had filled third last year, after a second and a fourth – entered the finishing straight last but Mosse conjured up a terrific burst of acceleration on his favoured good ground to ease home.
“It’s as special as winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup,” beamed winning trainer Francois Doumen, who trained The Fellow to win the 1994 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
“This is really something special to have at last got the Group One win he deserves (he was running in his 57th race).”
England’s banker on Arc day is usually the sprint the Prix de l’Abbaye and so it proved again as Tangerine Trees – at 20/1 one of their least fancied entries – prevailed after being off the track for three months.
The winner led home an English 1-2-3 to give trainer Bryan Smart only his second career Group One triumph, the previous one also being in France in the 1996 French Oaks with Sil Sila.
It provided a welcome boost for the former jump jockey, who was unable to be here as according to jockey Tom Eaves his father is seriously ill.