04/29/2012 2:43PM

France: Cirrus des Aigles much the best in Prix Ganay


Iron horse Cirrus des Aigles began his 2012 European season the same way he ended a Cartier-award-winning 2011, with an impressive win in a Group 1 race.

Just four weeks after a game win in the Group 1 Sheema Classic in Dubai, Cirrus des Aigles scored a dominant front-running victory Sunday at Longchamp in Paris, taking the Group 1 Prix Ganay by eight lengths over the talented filly Giofra. Sunday’s blowout triumph showcased Cirrus des Aigles’s versatility: In Dubai, he won over 1 ½ miles on a firm course, while the Prix Ganay was contested over about 1 ¼ miles on soft going.

Cirrus des Aigles, a 6-year-old gelding by Even Top, now has won 15 of 42 career races, but seven of those wins have come the last two calendar years. The gelding, trained by Corine Barande-Barbe, captured his first Group 1 last fall, beating So You Think in the Champion Stakes. He ran below form in a trip to Hong Kong in December, but quickly bounced back to his best early in 2012, using a synthetic-surface prep in France as a springboard to his big win in the Sheema Classic.

Ridden Sunday by Olivier Peslier, Cirrus des Aigles raced second for the Ganay’s first half-furlong before being sent up to make the running. Giofra tracked him for most of the trip but lost rather than gained when the runners were asked for their best. Giofra finished two lengths ahead of her stablemate, 2011 French Derby winner Reliable Man, while Wigmore Hall rallied mildly for fourth.

Barande-Barbe said there were no definite immediate plans for Cirrus des Aigles, but the gelding could go on to the May 20 Singapore Cup if he bounces back quickly from Sunday’s performance.