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.
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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."
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