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Vadeni impresses with French Derby demolition

Vadeni produced a dominant display to provide trainer Jean-Claude Rouget with a fifth victory in the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

A field of 15 colts went to post for the French Derby, with a strong British contingent headed by Charlie Appleby’s French 2000 Guineas winner Modern Games.

Also successful at the Breeders’ Cup last season, the son of Dubawi was quickly into his stride from his wide starting berth and soon navigated his way to the front in the hands of William Buick.

Modern Games remained in front halfway up the home straight, but 8-1 shot Vadeni loomed up ominously in the hands of a confident Christophe Soumillon and accelerated clear in hugely impressive style.

El Bodegon, a Group One winner in France last season for James Ferguson but disappointing on his seasonal reappearance in the Dante at York, bounced back to form with an excellent run to finish second, with Modern Games far from disgraced in third.

Andrew Balding’s Irish 2,000 Guineas third Imperial Fighter showed up well before fading, while Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Ivy League and The Acropolis were never able to get in a serious blow.

Of El Bodegon – who had the winner back in third when landing a Group Three at Chantilly in his two-year-old season – Ferguson told Sky Sports Racing: “Fantastic, it’s just so great to see him back on track.

“He’s obviously the horse that made us last year by winning a Group One and with all the owners having flown over from Australia for this race, it meant a lot – I’ve never been so happy to come second!

El Bodegon in the parade ring before the Dante Stakes
El Bodegon in the parade ring before the Dante Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

“All credit to the winner – he’s a fantastic racehorse and he won very well. But having known he was gone, we’ve beaten everything else.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve this horse and he tried all the way to the line. He was given a good ride (by Ioritz Mendizabal) and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in the future.

“I’ll have to wait and see what the owners want to do. Emotions are a bit high right now, so I’ll ask them a bit later.”

Appleby said: “James’s (Ferguson) horse has run very well and full credit to him and his team.

“More importantly for ourselves, we did what we wanted to do. He’s got great speed and William was controlling it how he wanted to control it on the front.

“You could spot the winner a long way out and at the end of the day we lost second because we didn’t go through the line, whereas the second horse did.

“We knew the trip would be towards the end of his petrol gauge and, going forward, the likelihood is we’ll probably take him to America for something like the Belmont Derby or the Saratoga Derby.

“Running over 10 (furlongs) or nine and a half on quicker ground is probably his gig.”

A delighted Rouget said of the winner: “I’m happy when a horse is flying like him today.

“I didn’t know before the race. I like him and thought he could run well. I thought he would stay the trip strongly but maybe didn’t have enough speed and would be better at a mile and a half.

“He had a very good draw and was always in a good position. After that, the acceleration was the same as when he won first time out last year in La Teste. He is a horse with a lot of class.

“He was not a smashing yearling, he was quite a poor yearling, but he improved a lot.

“I hope he will have a good summer and autumn.”

Both Coral and Paddy Power make Vadeni 8-1 for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but Rouget hinted he is more likely to stay at a mile and a quarter like his 2016 winner Almanzor, who went on to land both the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

When asked about the Arc, the trainer added: “I think we will do more the Almanzor programme, but it’s a bit early to be definitive.

“The Irish Champion is a smashing race and there’s Deauville if the ground is not too soft.”

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