Facteur Cheval fires for France in Dubai Turf thriller

Jerome Reynier's Facteur Cheval came out on top in a thrilling Dubai Turf at Meydan.

FACTEUR CHEVAL (centre) winning the Dubai Turf at Meydan in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
FACTEUR CHEVAL (centre) winning the Dubai Turf at Meydan in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Picture: Neville Hopwood/Getty Images

The Jerome Reynier-trained Facteur Cheval was last seen finishing runner-up to his compatriot Big Rock in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day and had previously shown a liking for testing conditions when behind Paddington in the Sussex Stakes.

With differing conditions and this representing one of his stiffest tasks to date, Facteur Cheval was sent off a 20/1 chance to land the Group 1 prize that Lord North was attempting to take for a record-extending fourth time.

However, Facteur Cheval proved his versatility when fending off Namur in the closing stages to score by the narrowest of margins under Maxime Guyon.

Danon Beluga finished a further three-quarters of a length back in third with the Charlie Appleby-trained Measured Time in fourth.

Do Deuce looked to endure a luckless passage finishing with plenty of running left back in fifth, while Lord North failed to find much for pressure and the now eight-year-old was ultimately well-beaten in eighth place under Frankie Dettori.

"He's amazing because he's just as good when the ground is heavy or soft," said Guyon.

"But he's never been the same as he was today. The turn of foot he showed was better than he's ever shown."

"It's amazing, I'm lost for words – 16 years ago I first came to Nad Al Sheba, and I never imagined I would be stood here today," said an emotional Reynier, enjoying the biggest success of his career to date.

"That was just amazing. I told Maxime that I'd never seen this horse go backwards in a finish, he always gives his best, he's always running on, so the distance was not a problem.

"Maxime rode the perfect race; he had Lord North to follow, and he kept something for the end. I'm delighted for Maxime and all the team."

A return to Goodwood for the Sussex Stakes could be on the agenda for the Jerome Reynier-trained five-year-old. "We will find out in the next few days how he's come out of it," said the French handler.

"He's been invited to Hong Kong in four weeks, but we would need to leave him here and see how he is. I would love to run him in the Sussex Stakes and there is also of course the Marois."

Christophe Lemaire endured a bad fall from Catnip in the closing stages of the contest and was stretchered off the track before being taken to hospital for observation.

The race had a sad postscript with Catnip unfortunately not being able to be saved after the extent of his injuries.

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