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Racing on 04.02.2023
Racing on 05.02.2023
They showed it to everyone: Iresine and Marie Velon

A current shooting star of international gallop racing also has German roots. For Iresine, the so impressive winner of the Prix Royal Oak, the standing highlight at the ParisLongchamp racecourse at Group I level at the end of October, is by Manduro, the world champion who used to cause a sensation for Georg Baron von Ullmann.

Iresine is a horse that has already been the focus of great buying interest in the last two years. The number of calls Jean-Pierre Gauvin received from people wanting to bring Iresine to Australia was only exceeded by those from agents suggesting a better-known jockey to replace Marie Velon, who was now making headlines with her first top-level success.

Gauvin resisted both temptations on several occasions and his team was rewarded when Iresine produced an impressive performance in his first attempt to win the Prix Royal-Oak. Chris Hayes must have thought he had his rivals on Search For A Song under control and couldn`t quite believe his eyes when Iresine came up the back straight as if he had been stung by a tarantula.

"This horse really amazed me today," said Gauvin, who had a fairy tale with Prix du Jockey Club winner Saonois a decade ago. "Marie rode him perfectly - even though she has ridden many good races with him - and on his first attempt at this distance and on really deep ground. I was reassured the whole time because she relaxed him beautifully, and although he ran behind horses, he wasn`t pushed and was never that far away from the leaders."

Gauvin added: "The plan was to take him in the straight between the horses and although he was on the inside where the ground was perhaps not the best, it was the right decision to take the short route. I was worried about going too fast, and Marie said the same afterwards, but he never looked like breaking in."

Iresine had outsprinted his rivals in the Prix Foy over a mile and a half, and for lack of alternatives Gauvin opted for a lamer distance. Marie Velon has spent her entire career at Gauvin`s base between Lyon and St Etienne and has grown with Iresine.

"We didn`t know his limits before today and I`m not sure we do now," she said. "He`s a really good horse and I could never have imagined winning a Group I test in this style. I`m really happy to have been able to do this for my trainer and an owner who has always supported me. I`m not sure I can really comprehend what just happened.

With the caveat that he may not like a very fast ground, Iresine seems so versatile that he could be used for the Prince of Wales`s Stakes one day and the Gold Cup the next.

Asked if he will run again this season, Gauvin said, "We have looked after him and the obvious desire now is to travel with him. He`s been invited to the Japan Cup and that won`t be long now, but we`ll consider Hong Kong in December." And there, too, Iresine could be a sharp blade, the current shooting star.

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