10/06/2013 1:33PM

Longchamp: Moonlight Cloud storms home to win Prix de la Foret


As flashy as Treve looked winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, Moonlight Cloud might have been her equal winning the Group 1 Prix de la Foret 1 1/2 hours later.

As jockey Thierry Jarnet sat chilly with nearly five of the Foret’s seven furlongs completed, Moonlight Cloud still raced last in a 10-horse field. Gordon Lord Byron, her principal rival, had made the pace and gone for home already, staking out what looked like an insurmountable margin. Then Jarnet asked Moonlight Cloud for her run – and did she deliver it. Moving at what looked like twice her rivals’ speed, Moonlight Cloud clipped them off one by one through the final quarter-mile, passing Gordon Lord Byron inside the final furlong and beating him by three lengths in a stunning victory.

“I thought Gordon Lord Byron took the lead really easy, and I said, ‘Oh, are we going to catch him?’” winning trainer Freddie Head said. “Then all of a sudden, when the speed comes, it’s incredible.”

Gordon Lord Byron, who was giving weight to the winner, nipped Garswood and Dux Scholar for second. Heavily favored Moonlight Cloud, timed in 1:21.08 for seven furlongs on soft going, gave Jarnet a huge Longchamp double, adding to his victory on Treve in the Arc.

“What a fabulous day; I’m on Cloud 9,” Jarnet said. “When she accelerates there is no stopping her.”

Moonlight Cloud has won all four of her starts this season, adding a third Group 1 to her wins a week apart in the Maurice de Gheest and the Jacque Le Marois in August in Deauville. The 5-year-old Invincible Spirit mare, bred and owned by George Strawbridge, has won 12 of her 19 starts, but her career is winding down. Head said she would be retired to become a broodmare in 2014, though Moonlight Cloud could race once more. She tried the Breeders’ Cup Mile last fall and could finish only eighth in the worst showing of her career, but a return trip to California has not been ruled out.

“For the moment there’s no plan,” said Head. “We’re not sure if we’ll go to Santa Anita. We may go to Hong Kong.”

In other Group 1 action Sunday at Longchamp:

* The Prix de l’Opera, a Win and You’re In race linked to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, went to Dalkala by the slimmest of margins, with Tasaday beaten a nose in the 10-furlong race for fillies and mares. Thistle Bird finished well for third, just a neck behind the top two.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

Ridden to victory by Christophe Soumillon for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre and owner-breeder the Aga Khan, Dalkala won for the first time at the Group 1 level. The American-bred 4-year-old daughter of Giants Causeway has won half her 12 starts.

* Favored Karakontie won the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere for 2-year-olds by a neck over pace-setting Noozhoh Canarias, earning through the Win and You’re In program a fees-paid berth in the BC Juvenile Turf which his connections are unlikely to accept. Alan Cooper, racing manager for the winning Niarchos family, said Karakontie would probably be put away for the winter to focus on a 3-year-old campaign.

*Maarek won the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, a five-furlong dash, by a head over Catall, while 37-1 shot Indonesienne upset the Prix Marcel Boussac for 2-year-old fillies and Altano won the Prix du Cadran for stayers.