06/01/2014 10:43AM

Prix du Jockey Club: The Grey Gatsby scores comfortably


The Grey Gatsby won the Prix du Jockey Club by three lengths on Sunday at Chantilly, becoming the first England-based horse to land the French Derby since Holding Court did so in 2000.

The Grey Gatsby hovered just below the top tier of his class when he won 1 of 4 starts at age 2, and after a decent second-place finish to start his 3-year-old campaign, he finished 10th in the one-mile English 2000 Guineas, but a stretch to longer distances appears to have brought out the best in The Grey Gatsby. As a 9-1 shot he won the Group 2 Dante Stakes on May 15 at York over 1 1/4 miles, and on Sunday in France he captured his first Group 1.

Jockey Ryan Moore guided The Grey Gatsby through an interesting trip around the right-handed course at Chantilly. The Grey Gatsby broke near the front of a 16-horse field but was eased well back into the pack as Moore clung close to the inner rail, saving ground all the way. With about a four of the race’s 10 1/2 furlongs left to run, Moore began creeping forward, squibbing his way between horses without ever coming far off the fence, and when a wide gap opened with about 1 1/2 furlongs to run, Moore and his mount burst through it, opening an insurmountable advantage and coming home comfortable winners. The time over good going was a strong 2:05.58.

Shamkiyr, who raced more forwardly placed than the winner, finished somewhat one-paced, just holding second over fast-finishing race favorite Prince Gibraltar. Christophe Soumillon had ridden Prince Gibraltar to the two impressive wins that made him favored Sunday, but Soumillon is the stable jockey for the Aga Khan and had to switch to Shamkiyr for the Jockey Club. Gerard Mosse picked up the ride on Prince Gibraltar and found himself trapped in last with only about three furlongs left to race. A rallying Prince Gibraltar twice had to steady as Mosse steered a path through the field, and by the time Prince Gibraltar got clear on the outside and could fully extend himself, The Grey Gatsby was gone.

The Grey Gatsby, an Irish-bred who’s a member of Mastercraftsman’s first crop, is trained by Kevin Ryan and owned by F. Gillespie.