Richard Hannon’s decision to supplement Ventura Tormenta for the Darley Prix Robert Papin paid dividends as he edged out The Lir Jet in a thrilling finish at Chantilly.
Ventura Tormenta had finished over six lengths behind The Lir Jet at Royal Ascot in the Norfolk Stakes, but Hannon’s youngster was making his debut on that occasion.
Since then he has been busy, winning at Yarmouth on Derby day and finishing a five-length fifth of 10 in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July Festival.
Showing real tenacity and hardiness given he was having his fourth race in the space of a month, Ventura Tormenta looked a sitting duck as The Lir Jet loomed up on his outside – yet despite getting headed, he would not lie down.
With The Lir Jet unable to put the race to bed, the Middleham Park Racing-owned Ventura Tormenta battled back to win in a photo finish, with Tiger Tanaka not far away in third.
Christophe Soumillon was on board the winner, who was providing Hannon with a third win in the Group Two contest following on from Kool Kompany (2014) – also owned by Middleham Park – and Gutaifan 12 months later.
Hannon said: “We’ve always liked him which was why we took him to Ascot first time, but I have to admit I slightly regretted that afterwards, dropping him in so deep.
“He’s just a lovely colt. Something like the Morny or the Gimcrack might be next. I wouldn’t be keen on supplementing him for the Phoenix, I’ve no idea why the Irish races closed so early this season.
“The Morny is a lovely race on a lovely flat track and we want to keep progressing if we can – he’s won his Group Two having bypassed a Listed and Group Three. He’s a real gentleman.
“I’m delighted for Middleham Park. It was Tim Palin’s (Middleham director of racing) idea to run in it, as I was looking at the Listed race at Newbury (won by Method) and he got it dead right. I still thought we were beaten in the photo.”
Palin said: “We’re already popping the champagne!
“The only way we were going to beat The Lir Jet was to drag the speed out of him and make it a test of stamina.
“Christophe gave him a super ride. Probably half a stride before and half a stride after the line he was beat, but right where it mattered he was in front.
“He’s not over-big, but he’s very mature and if there was ever a horse who could cope with two runs in two countries in a week it was him.
“He’s shown plenty of quality there and he’s our first Group winner of the year. It’s great to win the race again after Kool Kompany.
“It’s probably trainer and syndicate manager error that he’s ever been beaten, he hasn’t lost over six furlongs.”