05/25/2014 11:23AM

Cirrus des Aigles cruises in Prix d’Ispahan


Cirrus des Aigles won for the first time in a $9,000 race on Jan. 29, 2009 at the Cagnes-sur-mer racecourse in the south of France. What a road he has since traveled.

Now 8, Cirrus des Aigles won for the 20th time on Sunday at Longchamp, leading from start to finish and capturing the Prix d’Ispahan by 1 1/2 lengths over Anodin.

From those humble origins at provincial French racecourses, Cirrus des Aigles has been three times to the Far East and twice to Dubai. He now has won five times at the Group 1 level while earning more than $9.43 million in purses for owner Jean-Claude-Alain Dupuoy and trainer Corine Barande-Barbe.

Regular rider Christophe Soumillon took Cirrus des Aigles straight to the lead in the Ispahan, and the gelding never was threatened. He comfortably set a moderate tempo over a soft course, kicked clear from chasing Olympic Glory in mid-stretch, and comfortably held clear mild late bids from Anodin and Pollyana. Winning time for  1 1/8 miles and 55 yards was 1:57.98.

“It was like an exercise gallop for him,” Barande-Barbe said.

Cirrus des Aigles had twice been second in the Ispahan, and his win Sunday emphasized the surprising fact that at age 8, Cirrus des Aigles appears to have so far evaded decline. Already this season he has finished second to Gentildonna in the $5 million Sheema Classic at Meydan and sent the 4-year-old filly Treve to the first loss of her career last month in the Prix Ganay.

Cirrus des Aigles might start next in the Coronation Cup in England. Olympic Glory faded in the final half-furlong to finish fourth in his first try beyond one mile, and is certain to be cut back in distance when he next races.

Earlier on the Longchamp card, the Freddie Head-trained We Are won the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary for 3-year-old fillies.

Noble Mission scores in Tattersalls Gold Cup

In Ireland on Sunday, Noble Mission defeated Magician in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup while Marvellous beat Lighting Thunder to win the Group 1 Irish ,000 Guineas over soft-to-heavy ground at The Curragh.

Noble Mission is a Juddmonte Farms homebred who appears to just have hit peak form early in his 5-year-old season. Juddmonte and trainer Jane Cecil supplemented him to the Tattersalls Gold Cup after Noble Mission had won a pair of Group 3 races in his two previous starts, and Noble Mission’s newfound front-running style is serving him well. He cut out the pace Sunday under James Doyle, and while fading in the very late going, was never really threatened by Magician and Euphrasia, who took second and third, respectively.

Marvellous employed a style the polar opposite of Noble Mission in winning the Irish ,000 Guineas, storming home from last of 13 to beat Lightning Thunder by three lengths. Making just her third start and winning for only the second time, Marvellous rallied powerfully under Ryan Moore to notch an impressive victory. Vote Often finished a distant third in the race for 3-year-old fillies.