Soumillon gets French Derby as birthday gift, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Soumillon gets French Derby as birthday gift

PARIS - Christophe Soumillon landed his fourth French Derby on Sunday, a day after celebrating his 41st birthday, as he guided home Vadeni to an impressive victory. 

Belgium-born jockey never looked in trouble once he passed pacesetter and favourite Modern Games with just over 200m to go.

He eased away to give trainer Jean-Claude Rouget his fifth win in the Prix du Jockey Club and owner the Aga Khan his eighth, stretching back to Charlottesville in 1960.

Vadeni impressed the bookmakers, who slashed his price for October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to 8-1. 

Two English runners filled the minor positions. 

Bodegon, trained by James Ferguson, was second. 

The third-placed Modern Games put up a gallant performance in trying to add the Derby to his French 2000 Guineas crown. 

Soumillon said he had never doubted the outcome once they entered the finishing straight. 

“I was coasting behind the leaders,” he said. “I was in a much happier frame of mind when I saw the redraw (the race had to have a second draw after several glitches in the first one). 

“I really wanted to ride another Jockey Club winner for the Aga Khan, as it had been a long time since the last one (Darsi in 2006) and sadly he is not here. 

“However, I am so happy to do so as I owe him everything. This is also terrific as it is a late birthday present.” 

Rouget said once Vadeni hit the front, it was time to put down the binoculars for his rivals. 

“That was a procession,” he beamed. “I only thought this horse was good, no more than that.

“But this was no contest.” - AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE