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Cirrus Des Aigles smashes course record in QIPCO Champion Stakes

15 Oct 2011

Cirrus Des Aigles lowered the course record with a sensational triumph over So You Think in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.

Cirrus Des Aigles wins Britain’s richest ever horse race.  Image courtesy of

Cirrus Des Aigles lowered the course record with a sensational triumph over So You Think in the QIPCO Champion Stakes. 

The five-year-old gelding tracked the Irish powerhouse throughout the 10-furlong contest and quickened past the 7/4 favourite inside the final quarter-mile before hanging on under the Belgian rider’s strong drive.

“This means a lot to me, I have not many horses, I have very few clients but I have a champion,” said Barande-Barbe, who has had a licence since 1991.

“I saw beforehand that the horse was happy and I knew that he could do it and now he has done it. I wasn’t nervous, I trusted him and he is from another world. He has given me some marvellous adventures.

“My only other runner in Britain was Perfect Vintage (fifth in the 1999 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot) and this is my best day since Carling won the Prix de Diane 16 years ago. That and today are special so I can’t say one was better than the other. But winning a Group One in Britain is fantastic and I don’t fully realise what has happened yet.

“Every race he has run he has progressed and I know he is a gelding but for me this is about racing. Breeding is important but commercialism is not my priority and I know 1,000 times that I’d prefer a gelding who enjoys racing like him.

“You can see that he is a horse that runs a lot and as long as he likes racing he will continue to do it. He will probably go to Hong Kong but I doubt he will go on to Japan as he did last year because he has run more times this season than he did last time.”

Jockey Christophe Soumillon was delighted with Cirrus Des Aigles, a prolific winner in Pattern company who, although a regular in Group One races in Europe and the Far East, was scoring at the highest level for the first time.

He commented: “When he won races in Deauville in August, he won by eight lengths and 10 lengths in soft ground, really easy, and beat Group Two horses, so it was the mark of a champion.

“Unfortunately, every time he went overseas it was very good ground and he didn’t have good draws but today we had everything for us. The ground was just soft enough, good draw, and perfect race in behind So You Think – that gave us every chance.

“The horse is really amazing because if you see how many races he has had already this season, it’s unbelievable to see his condition. He was completely on top form today.

“He runs every race in every type of countryside racetracks like Vichy, Deauville, everywhere, and he wins Listed and Group races all over France. He ran the Japan Cup and in Hong Kong, so everyone knows him in France. He is like a mascot and today, seeing him do what he did, it is unbelievable. He was up against some of the best horses in the world at the distance and to beat them like that is something really special.

“I am already surprised because the race is at Ascot instead of Newmarket. I was second on Pride  and today I have won it with a famous horse like him, so I am really proud and now I hope I have the same chance with the Epsom Derby.

Soumillon also had a word for the team and particularly Franck Blondel who has been in the saddle for all but two of the gelding’s last 20 races.

He said: “I am very happy for the team because it is a small stable and is something special for them. I would also like to say a little word for his jockey, who rides him in France, Franck Blondel, he is a great rider and unfortunately (for him), today they asked me to ride the horse.”

For the full result, CLICK HERE