07/03/2010 11:00PM

Dick Turpin runs away with Prix Jean Prat


Dick Turpin picked the pockets of his seven opponents in the $500,000 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly on Sunday as he drew off to an impressive four-length victory in the Group 1 mile for 3-year-olds, leaving dual classic winner Lope de Vega struggling home in last place.

Settled by Richard Hughes in third behind Lope de Vega's pacemaker Altair Star, Dick Turpin displayed a tremendous turn of foot to lead at the three-sixteenths pole and went quickly clear. Nothing could challenge him through the final furlong as last year's French champion juvenile Siyouni held on for second a head in front of 2000 Guineas fourth Xtension, with juvenile Group 1 winner and St. James's Palace Stakes third Hearts of Fire fourth, six lengths behind the winner. The time for the mile on good to soft ground was 1:36.30.

Sent off at a generous 7.30-1, Dick Turpin was recording his first win since having beaten subsequent Irish 2000 Guineas and St. James's Palace winner Canford Cliffs in the seven-furlong, Group 3 Greenaham Stakes on April 17. Since than he had suffered three heartbreaking defeats at the highest level when second to Makfi in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, second to Lope de Vega in the French 2000 Guineas, and second again in the St. James's Palace.

Trained by Richard Hannon for John Manley, Dick Turpin is from the second crop of the unheralded Nureyev stallion Arakan, who as a racehorse won Goodwood's seven-furlong, Group 3 Supreme Stakes. Dick Turpin is far and away his best runner to date and his only black-type winner. Arakan stands at Ballyahane Stud in Ireland for a fee of just 4,000 euros ($5,000). Dick Turpin's dam, Merrily, is a 12-times raced maiden daughter of Sharrood, so there is nothing in his pedigree that suggests he will stay beyond a mile, yet that is exactly what Hannon is thinking. The Marlborough, England-based conditioner said that he believes Dick Turpin can get farther, although he did not mention any race in particular as Dick Turpin's next start.

As for Lope de Vega, this was an uncharacteristically poor performance from the winner of the French 2000 Guineas and the French Derby. Perhaps he could not handle the cut back in distance from the Derby's 1 5/16 miles. Perhaps he just didn't fire. In any case he was being eased up near the line by Maxime Guyon in finishing 12 1/4 lengths behind Dick Turpin.

* Miss Liberty's Fourth of July foray at Chantilly ended in failure as the juvenile daughter of Statue of Liberty and Miss America faded to finish fifth in the Group 3, $100,000 Prix du Bois, beaten 2 1/2 lengths by the victorious Keratiya. Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget for the Aga Khan, the 2.70-1 Keratiya missed the break but rallied under Christophe Lemaire to lead on the line in defeating Irish Field by a nose. A Bordeaux maiden winner who had finished a short neck second to Miss Liberty in a six-furllong allowance at Maisons-Laffitte, Keratiya is a daughter of Iron Mask who got the straight five furlongs in 59.10.

Rouget said that she would challenge colts once again in her next start in either the 5 1/2-furlong, Group 2 Prix Robert Papin or the six-furlong, Group 1 Prix Morny.