Sporting Life
1 June 2003

Dalakhani eases clear at Chantilly (Getty Images).


Dalakhani maintained his unbeaten record in most impressive style as he galloped away with the Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly.

The handsome grey colt was always seemingly coasting in the French Derby and pulled clear of his rivals in the final two furlongs, with jockey Christophe Soumillon barely having to shake his reins to get the desired result.

Even Super Celebre, the only real challenger to emerge from out of the pack in the home straight in pursuit of the winner, was flattered to get within two lengths at the line.

Coroner finished a further three lengths away in third place.

The win leaves Dalakhani's owner, the Aga Khan, in the enviable position of having had one Derby winner and also looking forward to the run of top contender Alamshar in the Epsom version this weekend.

And excitingly, he refused to rule out the possibility of the colts meeting in a showdown later this season, providing that both continue to progress in the desired fashion.

"The way it worked it always seemed the obvious route for Alamshar was to go to Epsom while we brought this colt here," he said.

"They probably wouldn't meet until the Arc de Triomphe but if they were both on course for the race and things had gone to plan then I wouldn't be afraid for them to race against each other.

"This is an amazing colt who is maturing all the time, an elegant and talented horse.

"He has such presence that it is not so much you who watches him as him watching you when he races.

"Today was the first time that he has really had to stretch."

Dalakhani could now take in the Budweiser Irish Derby at the Curragh.

His trainer Alan Royer-Dupre said: "We will see how he is before thinking about plans - we will also have to see how Alamshar gets on this weekend.

"He's an exceptional horse. He's very calm, a good mover and he's unbeaten. He's very easy for a trainer."

Soumillon, who waved his whip close home to emphasise that he had not had to recourse to using it at any stage, said that he was unsure exactly when the scale of improvement would end with his mount.

"He has run six times and won six times," the young jockey beamed. "It was a good pace and the way he travelled was unbelievable.

"Always he is better and better."

Runner-up Super Celebre is now set to be rested before returning for the traditional Arc trial of the Prix Niel later this season.

Andre Fabre's well-touted colt Papineau found the quick going against him, Frankie Dettori reported after he had trailed home well beaten, although the Italian had enjoyed better luck earlier on in the afternoon.