07/14/2010 12:00AM

Behkabad holds on in Grand Prix


Behkabad held off even-money favorite Planteur to win the Group 1, $765,000 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp on Wednesday, rewarding his Bastille Day backers to the tune of 8.80-1. Never worse than third under Gerald Mosse, the 3-year-old Behkabad, a son of Cape Cross, led at the quarter pole and found something extra when challenged by Planteur to prevail by three-quarters of a length, clocking 2:33.30 for the 1 1/2 miles on very soft ground.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Irish invader Jan Vermeer was five lengths farther back in third, while Goldwaki had his four-race winning streak snapped as he came home fourth, a nose behind Jan Vermeer. Behkabad's triumph was the sixth in the race for his owner, the Aga Khan, while it was the second for Mosse, who had partnered the Aga's Valanour to victory in 1995. Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget also was notching his second Grand Prix victory, having succeeded with Millkom in 1994.

The winner of the one-mile, Group 3 Prix des Chenes last fall, Behkabad had won the 1 1/8-mile, Group 3 Prix de Guiche in May prior to a fourth-place finish behind Lope de Vega in the 1 5/16-mile French Derby in which Planteur had been second. The step up to 12 furlongs suited Behkabad, however, and he has now won 5 of his 7 career starts. He will now be rested until Sept. 12 for the Prix Niel, the 3-year-old trial for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

* Harbinger will be ridden by Olivier Peslier in next Saturday's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Trained by Michael Stoute for Highclere Thoroughbred, the vastly improved Harbinger, a four-time group race winner, had been left without a jockey when his regular rider Ryan Moore opted for the Stoute-trained, Khalid Abdullah-owned Epsom Derby winner Workforce in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 contest. This will be the third successive year Peslier has crossed the English Channel to ride for Stoute in the King George as he rode Papal Bull to finish second in 2008 and Ask to finish third last year.