Given the general chaos that the French World Cup team has inflicted upon itself with Nicolas Anelka being dismissed from the team for an abusive outburst toward his coach during the team's last match, the subsequent one-day strike by the team in support of Anelka, and the fact that they must defeat the host nation, South Africa, in order to advance to the knockout phase of the tournament, I figured that the French could use some good news.
That good news is provided today by flat jockey Christophe Soumillon, who scored a Group One jumps victory aboard Mandali in the Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil. Soumillon did this in only his second-ever jumps race in his career. Soumillon has won numerous major races around the world, including the 2005 Breeders' Cup Turf aboard Shirocco. He has also won two Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe races in 2003 aboard Dalakhani and 2008 on Zarkava. With all of his fabulous victories that he has won, Soumillon might have outdone himself with this performance this weekend aboard Mandali. I will be posting the link for this race later in this article, so when you watch the race, take note of the segment at about the four-minute mark of the video where Soumillon's horse is a full TWENTY seconds ahead of the rest of the runners in this race. He eventually wins by a margin of SIXTEEN full seconds. That is just unheard of in any race, much less a Group 1 or Grade 1 event. This was a bravura performance by Soumillon as he judged the pace to the point where he realized that no one was going with him and he might as well go on with it and simply crush his opposition.
Here is the link to watch Christophe Soumillon at his best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=423C5E2LaUo.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!