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Kyprios is on the opposite side of the track to his Prix du Cadran rivals but is well clear
Saturday: Qatar Prix du Cadran, Longchamp
There may never be another Yeats to walk in the gates of Ballydoyle, but if Kyprios can stick around for another few years, then Aidan O’Brien and his team will witness more marvels in the best staying races.
In winning the Prix du Cadran he achieved something that eluded his illustrious predecessor on three occasions, while O’Brien now has a first success in a race which has stubbornly refused to smile at him.
Certainly very few horses will ever leave a high-quality field of stayers gasping for air before even reaching the home turn in a Group 1 race over two and a half miles in the way Kyprios did here, Ryan Moore refusing to let his partner have the chance of losing interest after toying with his rivals.
Asked about letting his mount stride on so far from home on by far the most testing ground he has encountered this year, Ryan Moore said: “It was just to try to keep him going really.”
While Moore admitted to being worried as Kyprios began to drift across the yawning expanse of Longchamp’s home straight – eventually he sought the sanctuary of the stands’ side rail – there is not a hint of anything ungenuine about this brilliant stayer.
“He’s a great horse and it’s a privilege to have him,” O’Brien said. “He has an unbelievable capacity for covering any amount of distance. He obviously has an incredible heart and lungs. Ryan rode him handy all the way and his opponents just fell away as they turned into the straight and he got left there.
“That’s what happened when he came up the straight. He lost a shoe halfway up the straight as well [off fore shoe], probably when he turned the way he did. Maybe that was a little bit of the reason, maybe it wasn’t, but I think he was just left in front too long.”
O’Brien confirmed that in all likelihood Kyprios is finished for the season but he and we have a mouthwatering prospect to look forward to when the top staying prizes come around next season, ample compensation for those who will miss another classy chestnut in this arena, Stradivarius.
There was 20 lengths back to the desperate battle for second – Almacado Gree just got the better of Tashkhan with Princess Zoe and Lismore in close attendance – but Brian Ellison had nothing but admiration for his third home.
Ellison said of Tashkhan: “Ben [Robinson] just said that having run four times on fast ground, he didn’t know whether he was just thinking about that [early on]. He said once he got his confidence he raced a bit better.
“But the winner’s a machine isn’t he? Just a different ballgame. This is just a cheap horse and he never lets me down.
“We might go to Ascot and if not we’ll come back here for the Royal-Oak, I think that will be more likely.”
Ellison added: “He’ll never run on fast ground again. When he ran at York he just told me to bugger off, he wasn’t having it!
“He just wants soft ground and you’re not going to meet that fella all the time.”
Bruno Audouin trains a tiny string and has already had one staying star in Holdthasigreen, winner of this race in 2019.
He said of runner-up Almacado Gree: “It feels like winning and although he is not a similar horse to my other good stayer, he allows us the same dreams.”
How it happened
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Kyprios stretches well clear of his rivals in the Cadran
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Kyprios starts to edge towards the center of the track under Ryan Moore