€400,000 Guillaume d'Ornano (Gr2): Ace Impact right on time

16 August 2023

Ornano 23 Ace Impact

Photo scoopdyga.com


Tuesday 15th August 2023, Deauville-La Touques Racecourse (Calvados). – Entering as the 4/10 favourite for the €400,000 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano (Gr2) on his first appearance since his Qatar Prix du Jockey Club (Gr1, French Derby) win 72 days earlier, Ace Impact (Cracksman) truly delivered over Deauville's ten furlong-trip. He overtook Birr Castle (Cloth of Stars), who had seized his chance after travelling behind the pacemaker Cambronne (Alex the Winner) from the outset. Ace Impact now races for his former owner Serge Stempniak and Gousserie Racing, who bought 50% of the horse for the Chehboub family post his French Derby. Mirroring his Chantilly performance two and a half months prior, he was held back until the final straight before moving out of the field and sprinting home. He went from seventh to first place over the last 2 furlongs, securing a short-length victory over Irish raider Al Riffa (Wootton Bassett), a 2-year-old winner of the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (Gr1) and already a runner-up on his seasonal debut in Ireland. In the final moments, Birr Castle yielded second place to the latter by a mere head.

Rather than the sheer form of the race, Ace Impact's style has been reassuring. Bred by Waltraut Spanner, he's now undefeated in five outings and impressively completed the final three furlongs faster than any other at 34.69 seconds - the best time for this section across the three main races held on Sunday and Tuesday over the 2,000-metre course. He remains the sole racer to break the 11-second mark over the penultimate furlong.

Ace Impact made his debut in Cagnes-sur-Mer this winter, clinching a victory over 1m2f on the all-weather track before backing it up on Bordeaux's turf. He followed up with wins on that very Chantilly track in the Prix de Suresnes (L) and then in the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club (Gr1), setting a new record time.

Though born in Ireland, Ace Impact was bred in France by Mrs. Waltraut Spanner. Jean-Claude Rouget acquired him as a yearling for €75,000 at the Deauville sales, where Elise Drouet's Domaine de l'Étang consigned him. His Nathaniel sister, a winner named Adlon Rose, was sold for €10,000 out of training to the Écurie Un Crin d'Or in December '21 at Deauville. His 2-year-old Gleneagles brother is currently in training with Jean-Claude Rouget, representing Mrs Waltraut Spanner.