Adrian McGuinness joined Group 1-winning
company in style as A Case of You staged a fantastic finish to bag the Prix de
l'Abbaye on Arc weekend, writes Paul Martin.
A stunning ride by Ronan Whelan saw the colt reel in Air De Valse inside the final furlong and a photo finish was required to confirm McGuinness’ three-year-old had taken the spoils.
It marked the latest step in a rapid rise for the ever-improving star, who was supplemented into this contest having finished second as a 33-1 shot in the Flying Five on Irish Champions Weekend three weeks ago.
A jubilant McGuinness said: “When he was second in the Flying Five he was my first ever runner in a Group 1 and we supplemented him for this race last week because I knew he’d improve.
“The Flying Five was his first ever run over five furlongs and he’s just got better and better. I think he’ll be a very good horse next year.
“We ran him in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and he wasn’t right, but I knew he was right today. I have a good sprinter that won the other night and he can’t lay up with this horse.”
A Case Of You came from stall five in a fast and furious race which, as expected, favoured those with a low draw.
Five-year-old mare Air De Valse, who set off from stall two at 40-1, looked all but certain to become another surprise winner on a day of shocks at Longchamp – but when Whelan found a gap, he made it count.
A blistering turn of pace was enough to seal McGuinness’ place in elite company and his colt will now be eligible to travel to the Breeders’ Cup in November.
“I just can’t believe it,” he added. “We’ll definitely look at the Breeders’ Cup, either that or put him away and look at Dubai next year."
A Case of You is the first Irish winner of the Prix de l'Abbaye since Maarek in 2013 and Whelan guaranteed he would savour every moment of his day to remember.
“He hit the line good and came out of it bouncing,” he said. “The second horse tied up a bit but if we went on another bit, I was a good winner.
“I’m delighted for the horse and for everyone that he proved it [Flying Five] was no fluke.
“These are the days we dream of. We don’t get many horses or chances like this and when it comes together, we just have to milk it and make the most of it.”
The final Group 1 of Arc weekend almost brought consecutive Irish victories as Billy Lee produced a fine ride on Paddy Twomey-trained Pearls Galore in the Prix de la Foret.
Twomey’s filly was in contention throughout but favourite Space Blues pulled away up the home straight to leave the Coolmore ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes runner-up second again.