After a very tough 2016, Criquette Head-Maarek still emerged from the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting with group 1 spoils and plenty to look forward to, as National Defense put up an impressive display of front-running in the Group 1 Qatar Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) at Chantilly today.
The son of Invincible Spirit had bolted up on his Deauville debut in August, but after being beaten into third place in a Group Three over this course and distance last month, he appeared to face a challenge as he stepped up to the highest level.
However, Pierre-Charles Boudot sent his mount straight into a lead he never looked like relinquishing in the straight, finding another gear to leave his rivals trailing in his wake.
The sole British representative, Sylvester Kirk’s Salouen, ran an excellent race to fill the runner-up spot.
Aidan O’Brien’s Whitecliffsofdover was third, but his stable companion Utah was well beaten.