Chantilly: National Defense scoops Lagardere spoils

Criquette Head-Maarek: could have another superstar on her hands

PICTURE: Getty Images Head-Maarek scoops Lagardere with Defense
By Stuart Riley 1:52PM 2 OCT 2016

Report: France, Sunday

Chantilly: Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) (Group 1) 1m, 2yo colts & fillies

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IN RECENT year's Criquette Head-Maarek has become synonymous with Arc day thanks to the wonderful Treve and she was to the fore once more as National Defense made light work of his Lagardere opposition to register a wide-margin success.

The first year after the retiring of her stable star has been a difficult one for Head-Maarek. She lost the patronage of Al Shaqab Racing earlier this year despite winning two Arcs for the operation and had saddled just two winners for the year – one of which came courtesy of National Defense on his debut.

A third last time out in what is turning out to be a very hot Group 3 over course and distance meant he was sent off a 5-1 shot and he proved that while his trainer may be struggling, her masterful touch with classy animals remains as he led from start to finish.

National Defense looked the winner a long way out, with Pierre-Charles Boudot backing the field up around the bend and then cruising clear as all around him were hard at work to keep up. When he pushed the button the pair powered clear, galloping all the way to the line for a comfortable success.

"He is not a difficult horse but he has a lot of energy," said Head-Maarek. "The other day he didn't settle in behind and so I told Pierre-Charles to let him go on like he did on debut at Longchamp. He is a very good horse. I have had a terrible year and that is my third winner."

More to follow . . .

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