Vadeni could dodge Arc after winning French Derby

Vadeni claimed an impressive victory over 15 rivals in the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, the French version of the Derby.

Vadeni claimed an impressive victory over 15 rivals in the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, the French version of the Derby.

Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget picked up his fifth victory in the Group 1 race, last winning it with Sottsass in 2019, but hinted the 8/1 winner could avoid the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Vadeni is already 8/1 for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but Rouget believes staying at mile and a quarter like his 2016 winner Almanzor, who won the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the Champion Stakes at Ascot, could be the path.

When asked about the Arc, the trainer said: "I think we will do more the Almanzor programme, but it's a bit early to be definitive.

"The Irish Champion is a smashing race and there's Deauville if the ground is not too soft.

"For me the 2,000 metre distance is the perfect distance now. The English programme is the Eclipse at Sandown and then you have the Irish Champion and then the Champion Stakes at Ascot at the end of the season.

"In France, you don't have any Group Ones for my type of horse until later in the year, so you have to go abroad for that type of race."

Vadeni, in the hands of a confident Christophe Soumillon, was too strong for the rest of the French Derby field and comfortably won by five lengths.

El Bodegon, a Group One winner in France last season for James Ferguson but disappointing on his seasonal reappearance in the Dante at York, bounced back to form with an excellent run to finish second, with Godolphin’s 9-4 favourite Modern Games, trained by Charlie Appleby, far from disgraced in third.

Andrew Balding's Irish 2,000 Guineas third Imperial Fighter showed up well before fading, while Aidan O'Brien's pair of Ivy League and The Acropolis were never able to get in a serious blow.

A delighted Rouget said of the winner: "I'm happy when a horse is flying like him today.

"I didn't know before the race. I like him and thought he could run well. I thought he would stay the trip strongly but maybe didn't have enough speed and would be better at a mile and a half.

"He had a very good draw and was always in a good position. After that, the acceleration was the same as when he won first time out last year in La Teste. He is a horse with a lot of class.

"He was not a smashing yearling, he was quite a poor yearling, but he improved a lot.

"I hope he will have a good summer and autumn.

"The horse ran above my expectations. He won so easily, in the final yards you could see that he was going so easily, he produced a performance that was certainly better than expected.

"He's already established among the best horses and we hope we can take him into the autumn and we can keep him at that level."

Soumillon, meanwhile, compared Vadeni favourably with some of the great horses he has ridden.

"It's not easy to compare horses, especially when they are not unbeaten like Zarkava or Dalakhani," he said.

"But this kind of sensation was a bit like when Almanzor won the Jockey Club or like when I rode Orfevre - they are horses with a great turn of foot able to quicken so fast and give no chance to the opponents.

"Honestly it's not easy to say (whether he will stay a mile and a half). He looks like a horse who wants to go a mile and a mile and a quarter and from the horses Jean-Claude has had in the past there is just Sottsass who was able to go for the Arc."

Of El Bodegon - who had the winner back in third when landing a Group Three at Chantilly in his two-year-old season - Ferguson told Sky Sports Racing: "Fantastic, it's just so great to see him back on track.

"He's obviously the horse that made us last year by winning a Group One and with all the owners having flown over from Australia for this race, it meant a lot - I've never been so happy to come second!

"All credit to the winner - he's a fantastic racehorse and he won very well. But having known he was gone, we've beaten everything else.

"He wears his heart on his sleeve this horse and he tried all the way to the line. He was given a good ride (by Ioritz Mendizabal) and we're looking forward to seeing what he can do in the future.

"I'll have to wait and see what the owners want to do. Emotions are a bit high right now, so I'll ask them a bit later."

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