Subject: News: Dashing Dalakhani roars to Arc glory -
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2003 13:09:08 -0400
Dalakhani recorded a famous success in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere at Longchamp.
The Alain de Royer Dupre-trained colt had to dig very deep to fight off the brave challenge of Marcus Tregoning's Mubtaker. Aidan O'Brien's High Chaparral finished well back in third for the second successive year, with Doyen fourth. Christophe Soumillon raced towards the back of the field on the 9-4 second favourite in the early stages from his high draw.
High Chaparral (13-8 favourite), in contrast, was close to the pace being set by Dalakhani's pacemaker, Diyapour. Mubtaker (25-1) was also handy and he was going very well in the false straight.
Dalakhani was also improving his position, though, and Soumillon never looked likely to panic on a horse he has always believed to be a superstar. The winner's turn of foot brought him upsides Mubtaker and he then showed the necessary battling qualities to hold off a horse who had only been given the go-ahead to run an hour or so before the race because of ground worries.
Dalakhani won by three-quarters of a length, with High Chaparral, who just could not find any more in the straight, a further five lengths away in third. Irish raider Vinnie Roe ran on stoutly to finish fifth. High Chaparral's stablemate Black Sam Bellamy was sixth.
"It's a race I wanted to win throughout my apprenticeship and it's unbelievable to ride a horse like him," Soumillon told the BBC. "He's a real champion and I love him so much."
Owner the Aga Khan, winning his third Arc, said: "He has got to be an outstanding horse, as a two-year-old, as a three-year-old and over all distances and all goings.
"He is a beautiful mover. I was worried about the ground as he hadn't won on it since he was a two-year-old, but he proved he could handle anything.
"It is always difficult to make comparisons between horses. This horse possesses a concentration of unusual talents."
The Aga Khan's other top three-year-old, Alamshar, will run next in the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket on October 18.
"We'll have to come back and win it next year - he stays in training," said Tregoning of Mubtaker. "It was a great thrill because we were really worried about the ground.
"It was a great effort by the horse. For a moment I thought he might hold on and I felt for a second he was going to win it. But you could see Dalakhani coming wide. The winner is a very good horse."
Jockey Richard Hills added: "He's a good horse and he's got a big heart.
"He was just a bit fresh with me and ran a little bit keen going down the hill and got me on the quarters of First Charter, and I just had to pull him off."