06/04/2005 11:00PM

Shamardal takes Prix du Jockey-Club


Chantilly, France - Shamardal, whose career looked like it was in tatters after a dreadful performance in the UAE Derby in March, scored his second classic victory in a row on Sunday as he led throughout under a brilliant ride from Frankie Dettori to land the $1.8 million Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly.

In adding this French Derby title to a resume that already includes the French 2000 Guineas, Shamardal should be rated only behind Saturday's Epsom Derby winner Motivator among European 3-year-olds, yet the feeling persists that had the race not been reduced from 1 1/2 miles to 1 5/16 miles this year for the first time in its 164 runnings, it would have been won by the fast closing runner-up and 3-5 favorite Hurricane Run.

In fact, Hurricane Run, like the first two home in the Epsom Derby- Motivator and Walk in the Park- a son of Montjeu, probably would have won this Prix du Jockey-Club had he not veered first right and then left while making his late run down the middle of the stretch. When Christophe Soumillon finally got him straightened out, Hurricane Run flew home, only to fall short of Shamradal by a neck.

Laverock was third, half a length further behind but was disqualified and placed sixth for interfering with Ruwi, who was placed fifth, while Rocamadour and Gharir were moved up to third and fourth respectively.

Sent off as the second choice at 13-2, Shamardal traveled the 1 5/16 miles on good ground in 2:09.00.

Bred in Kentucky by Brilliant Stable, Shamardal is by the exciting young stallion Giant's Causeway, and Godolphin must be congratulated for having kept faith in their European juvenile champion. At the same time, Hurricane Run's trainer Andre Fabre may have only himself to blame for his horse's defeat.

For it was Fabre who had always complained that 3-year-olds were too immature to go 1 1/2 miles in early June. France-Galop's decision to reduce the distance of the French Derby might be seen by Fabre as a nightmarish kind of wish fulfillment. Even with his erratic stretch run, Hurricane Run almost surely have won a 12-furlong French Derby. Unfortunately, he was born one year too late.

The Irish Derby's mile and a half will suit him better next time at the Curragh on June 26 when he will meet Motivator. Meanwhile, Dettori hinted that Shamardal is versatile enough to drop back to a mile.

"He is a great horse who has improved so much since the French Guineas. Everything worked out really well.

The same cannot be said for Hurricane Run, a horse who, in living up to his name, lost a golden opportunity for classic glory.