Puchkine Wins The Group 1 Prix Jean Prat

Speedy Son Of Starspangledbanner Captures Group 1 Prize

Ioritz Mendizabal utilised the high cruising speed of Puchkine (3c Starspangledbanner – Vadyska, by So You Think) to perfection on Sunday, earning Jean-Claude Rouget’s charge a first Group 1 success in the Prix Jean Prat.

Two from two as a juvenile, Alain Jathiere’s homebred ran with credit in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains in May, but appeared best-suited by Sunday’s seven furlong trip and ground described as good-to-soft. The bay raced in second as Zandy set a brisk pace in front and was travelling well approaching the two furlong pole. Ridden soon after, he ran on strongly to score by two and a half lengths from stablemate Havana Cigar.

Speaking after the race, a delighted Mendizabal said, “Today was D-day because he had the right distance, the right ground and the right track, so I really didn’t want to miss the chance. I just rode him for himself, ignoring that I was drawn next to the favourite. The idea was just to get him to relax and be happy in his own space because I have a lot of confidence in this horse, just as I have in Jean-Claude, who I must thank for letting me ride these horses the way I want to.”

Assistant trainer Jean-Bernard Roth added, “Puchkine really benefited from his trip behind the pacemaker and he was really able to get into his own rhythm. We’ve tried to get him to stay 1,600 metres, when really he loves to go at his own pace. He looked magnificent before the race and he's a real speed horse.”

Owner/breeder Alain Jathiere, meanwhile, is excited about the future. “Having won one Group 1, I want to win another so we’ll be back here in a month for the Prix Maurice de Gheest. He’ll be up against the older horses, but he has so much speed.”

Puchkine is the best performer to date out of Vadyska (So You Think), herself a daughter of dual Stakes winner and Group performer Rockatella (Rock Of Gibraltar).