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Vadeni earns Sandown plaudits

Vadeni was the star of the show at Sandown on Saturday afternoon as Jean-Claude Rouget's star ended a wait of more than six decades for a French-trained Eclipse winner.

If the French dominated the big UK race of the weekend, it was role reversal on Sunday as Sir Mark Prescott's mare Alpinista took out the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

Here's our look back on the major weekend racing action, which also saw Free Wind landing a controversial bet365 Lancashire Oaks victory.

Vadeni irresistible at Sandown

Jean-Claude Rouget is closing in on 7,000 winners in his training career and few would have been sweeter than Vadeni's Eclipse success at Sandown.

The 68-year-old French trainer revealed after the race his win-count stands at 6,982 - a total unmatched by any trainer past or present in Europe.

Having urged owner the Aga Khan to supplement his Prix du Jockey Club winner at a cost of £50,000 at the start of last week, Rouget's convictions were proved spot on as Vadeni came from last to first under Christophe Soumillon to land the Sandown feature.

He repelled the late challenge of Mishriff on his outside by a neck, while Irish 2000 Guineas winner Native Trail was a further head away in third.

Rouget was delighted with the outcome and has already pinpointed a trip to Ireland in September as the next stopping point for Vadeni.

"If I decide to supplement a horse like that, it's my basic instinct, so I was confident. I have 43 years of training in my legs, so I know it's always difficult to win," he said.

"To win the Eclipse for me was a real challenge, like when Almanzor won the Irish Champion Stakes. I hope this horse will also win the Irish Champion and that will be his next race."

Aplinista shines at Saint-Cloud

There was British joy in France as Sir Mark Prescott's prolific mare Alpinista claimed her fourth Group 1 victory with a determined display in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on Sunday.

The daughter of Frankel won all five starts during 2021 and has become a globe-trotting star for her trainer, with Sunday's success being her fifth Group-race win on the continent.

On her first start of the year, Alpinista was behind the likes of Aidan O'Brien's High Definition and the Martyn Meade-trained Lone Eagle for much of the contest, but she responded strongly to rider Luke Morris' urgings and to get up and beat Baratti a shade cosily by a length-and-a-quarter.

All roads lead to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe says the trainer, with Aplinista trading at 12/1 for the Longchamp contest on Sunday 2nd October.

"I would think one run before the Arc, probably, and conventionally you'd go for the Prix Vermeille - that would be the obvious race," said the trainer.

"I don't see any reason to be a clever, I think you just go with the obvious and hope she's good enough to do it."

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O'Meara's Get Shirty enjoy Cup win

David O'Meara's Get Shirty landed his second big handicap of the season when surging away with the bet365 Old Newton Cup at Haydock on Saturday.

The win came a mere 18 days after Get Shirty had bagged the Copper Horse Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The six-year-old French import was up to a mark of 105 on the back of that success and was relatively easy to back at 10/1 for his Haydock assignment, but he proved any doubters wrong when moving to the lead inside the final furlong and having a length-and-a-half in hand over Enfranchise in second spot.

William Haggas' hot favourite Gaassee finished well to be third after having sat out the back of the field under Cieren Fallon.

O'Meara, meanwhile, is eyeing up York's Ebor in August for Get Shirty.

"He trains well and is out in the field a lot and sometimes it's nothing in particular that you do, horses just come back into themselves because they do and there's no real science to it," said the trainer.

"The Ebor would be a great race for him and then we’ll see where we end up after that. It would be an amazing race to win!"

Wind lands stormy Lancashire Oaks

John and Thady Gosden saw Free Wind make a winning return in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on Saturday, despite a less than trouble-free passage under Rab Havlin.

Last year's Park Hill Stakes winner was having her first start in 296 days and it look likely to be unsuccessful when Havlin sought to challenge up the running rail, only for Jim Crowley on Roger Varian's Group 1 winner Eshaada to close the door on them - causing Havlin to snatch up on Free Wind, who gave the rails a hefty bump.

Despite that mishap and having to change course, Free Wind picked up in fine style and went past Sea La Rosa to score by two-and-a-quarter-lengths and the winning rider believes Free Wind has top-level potential.

"I'd say we'd probably aim her a bit higher than the Lillie Langtry Stakes - that was an obvious race to consider at Goodwood, but I'd imagine connections will want to go for a Group 1," said Havlin.

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