Defense attacks from the front

National Defense made every yard to run out an imperious winner of the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly.

National Defense ran out an impressive winner

It has not been an easy season for trainer Criquette Head-Maarek who twice saddled Treve to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe but she certainly has a good deal to look forward to with her Invincible Spirit colt.

He bolted up on his Deauville debut in August, but after being beaten into third place in a Group Three over this course and distance last month, he was a 5/1 shot stepped up to the highest level.

Taken straight to the head of affairs by Pierre-Charles Boudot, he appeared a little keen as he was tracked by Whitecliffsofdover and Utah but found when plenty when asked the question and scooted clear of his labouring rivals.

None of his six opponents ever threatened to land a blow and it was left to the experienced Saloueen to chase the winner home.

Head-Maarek was understandably delighted with the performance: "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 has a huge action and he likes to gallop. He could be a Guineas horse."

Kirk, though, was left frustrated, despite the big run of Salouen.

He said: "Unless I'm reading it wrong the winner's got into a soft lead and set his own fractions and stolen a march on them.

"I'm disappointed because I came here expecting my colt to win.

"He's in the Racing Post Trophy but has had a long old season, so we'll have to see."

Read More at Sporting Life

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