The Prix du Jockey Club remains the “obvious race” for French 2000 Guineas winner Marhaba Ya Sanafi following his shock success at ParisLongchamp.
The Andreas Schutz-trained son of Muhaarar had finished two and a half lengths adrift of Yann Barberot’s American Flag in the Prix de Fontainebleau on his penultimate start and whereas American Flag was sent off favourite for the opening French Classic of the season, Marhaba Ya Sanafi was among the outsiders.
However, with American Flag slowly away and always on the back foot, Marhaba Ya Sanafi benefitted from a positive ride from Mickael Barzalona and showed real heart close home to pass Brian Meehan’s raider Isaac Shelby for a narrow victory.
The colt showed no signs of stopping over a mile on testing ground at Longchamp and connections are now expecting further improvement when he moves up in distance, with further Classic honours on the radar at Chantilly on June 4.
“We would like to send him for the French Derby and we think that is the obvious race we should go for,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager for Marhaba Ya Sanafi’s owner Jaber Abdullah.
“He could be an improving horse. I know the favourite (American Flag) got left behind, but this is a very nice, improving horse and very progressive.”