Aidan O’Brien: I couldn’t dream this could happen
Aidan O'Brien reflected on perhaps the greatest result of his incredible career after brilliant filly Found led home a one-two-three for the trainer in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
The Ballydoyle handler's standing as one of the sport's greatest of all time has long been assured, but even O'Brien himself admitted he could never have dreamt of enjoying such dominance in a single renewal of Europe's premier middle-distance contest.
Found is the best possible advert for his sensational training talents, with this her eighth outing of 2016 and sixth consecutive appearance at Group One level.
Having filled the runner-up spot in the previous five, last year's Breeders' Cup Turf heroine was a 6-1 shot to get back on the winning trail and she did so in sensational fashion on the grandest of stages.
It's a privilege to be here and be part of it. How can you see anything higher [in his career] than this?
Always travelling well under Ryan Moore, the four-year-old showed off her dazzling turn of foot in the straight and passed the post a length and three-quarters clear of King George-winning stablemate Highland Reel, with Gold Cup hero Order Of St George third.
Postponed, previously unbeaten since joining Roger Varian and so impressive in the Juddmonte International when last seen, was all the rage as the 15-8 favourite, but could not pick up and finished fifth.
O'Brien said: "I'm so delighted for everyone. It's a big team effort.
"It's a privilege to be here and be part of it. How can you see anything higher [in his career] than this?
"I couldn't dream this would happen. You know how difficult the Arc is.
"We've had our eye on this for a long time. When Ryan rode her as a two-year-old and said she could win an Arc – he was obviously right."
Speedy Boarding looks set to be retired in a blaze of glory after claiming her second successive Group One victory in the Longines-sponsored Prix de l'Opera.
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An 11-2 chance to follow up her August triumph in the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville, James Fanshawe's filly was all heart in the hands of Frederik Tylicki as she narrowly got the better of the Jim Bolger-trained Pleascach, who ran a fantastic race on her first start since finishing fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes over a year ago.
The previously unbeaten So Mi Dar finished third for John Gosden and may well have been involved in the finish but for getting trapped on the rail at a crucial stage.
Fanshawe said: "She'll probably go to stud now. Ascot [Champions Day] will come too soon for her and this will be her final year.
"It was a brilliant race and there didn't deserve to be a loser."
British and Irish challengers also dominated the finish of the Total Prix Marcel Boussac, with Charlie Appleby's Wuheida (10-1) leaping to the head of ante-post lists for next year's 1000 Guineas after an authoritative success.
William Hill installed the winner as the 8-1 market leader for the Qipco 1000 Guineas and at 12-1 for the Investec Oaks – a race her trainer flagged up as the winter dream.
Appleby said: "She saw out that trip well, and I've always thought of her as an Oaks filly."
There was further success for Newmarket in the Qatar Prix de l'Abbaye as Sir Mark Prescott's three-year-old filly Marsha (16-1) flew home under Luke Morris.
O'Brien's Washington DC beat dual Nunthorpe heroine and 6-4 favourite Mecca's Angel to the runner-up spot.
A brilliant day for the raiding party was completed by Henry Candy's July Cup hero Limato, who justified 8-11 favouritism with a scintillating display in the Prix de La Foret.
Assessing plans, Candy said: "It (Breeders' Cup) is a definite possibility. We'll have to discuss it, but I'd rather run him in the Mile than the Sprint."
Criquette Head-Maarek enjoyed some welcome relief at the end of a difficult campaign as 5-1 shot National Defense produced a dominant front-running display in the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.
The sole British representative, Sylvester Kirk's Salouen, ran an excellent race to fill the runner-up spot, with O'Brien's Whitecliffsofdover third.
Head-Maarek said: "We have had a terrible year as the horses were sick for a long time. "But they are coming back to themselves now and we knew this one had a good chance.
"He could be a Guineas horse."
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