€400,000 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud : Westover dominant

8 July 2023

GP StCloud 23 Westover

Photo scoopdyga.com

Saturday, July 8, 2023, Saint-Cloud Racecourse (Hauts-de-Seine). - Odds-on favourite of the 115th €400,000 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Gr1), contested by five older horses over 1m1/2, the English raider Westover (Frankel) won the race comfortably after benefiting from a favourable run. Winner of the 2022 Irish Derby, second this season in the Sheema Classic (Gr1) won by the Japanese star Equinox, and then in the Coronation Cup (Gr1) behind Emily Upjohn (2nd today in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown), the Juddmonte homebred had the support of a pacemaker, his stablemate Malabu Drive (Frankel), who, however, couldn't take the lead. Indeed, the race was led by the German raider Tunnes (Guiliani), who held Malabu Drive on his right until the final turn, when the latter dropped back. Westover, who was in third place until then, had to take his place, and he took the lead on his own going into the straight. Zagrey (Zarak), third in the Sheema Classic, soon challenged him and seemed capable of threatening him. Still, after a brief moment of hesitation, Ralph Beckett's trainee accelerated again to eventually win by two lengths over Zagrey, with the gelding Junko (Intello) finishing third, three lengths behind.

The winner set a new race record in 2'25''46.

Westover is out of Mirabilis (Lear Fan), third in a Prix de la Forêt (Gr1) and a Gr3 winner in the USA. She is also the sister of the French Oaks winner Nebraska Tornado (Storm Cat) and the dam of Monarchs Glen (Frankel), a Gr3 winner in England.


Ralph Beckett (the trainer of Westover, 1st – Andover (Britain)

"Races are never a foregone conclusion. There are no certainties. But we were hopeful that he would indeed run well. Now we'll be able to talk to his entourage about the rest of his racing programme. He is entered in the Group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. But he is also entered in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes (Group 1). We could also possibly consider stepping him up in trip after today's victory, which gives rise to other objectives."

Yann Barberot (the trainer of Zagrey, 2nd) - Deauville (Calvados)

"I'm really pleased with his comeback race. I even thought for a moment that he was going to be able to catch Westover. But Westover pulled away because he's tough. Furthermore, the winner already had the benefit of a previous race. On this occasion, Zagrey may have needed the race, especially as he would certainly have preferred a softer track. In the future, I really hope that Zagrey manages to have his day in the sun because he deserves it. I'll see how he comes out of this race, but he's the type that is going to have a great autumn. The Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is always a possibility."

Pierre-Yves Bureau (racing manager, Junko, 3rd) - Saint-Étienne-la-Thillaye (Calvados)

"We are reassured because the horse ran very well. Junko showed his mettle today. He wasn’t far off the first and second. In the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan, things went badly. So it was important that it went well today. Furthermore, he was racing on fairly fast ground, which isn’t his favourite surface. He was racing over 2,400m for the first time. That opens the door for the rest of his programme. He'll be able to run distances ranging from 2,000m to 2,400m in the future."