WINNER 9 OF 2023: BRAVE EMPEROR, trained by Archie Watson and ridden by Luke Morris: The feature, Listed 'PRIX DE LA CALIFORNIE' over 1,600m at Cagnes-sur-Mer.
The cameras focused in on him as the favourite and he certainly looked very well in the paddock. He was drawn 7 of 10, so the plan was to try and get him out and across. He was a touch slowly away, so Luke worked his magic to get him up there. Managing to then get across, he settled into 2nd - tracking the leader on the outside. Coming around the home bend, Luke launched his challenge. 2f out, he ran on well and soon led, kicking clear in the final 150yds and kept on well, to win by 1 and 3/4 lengths.
Watch the full race replay here: https://www.attheraces.com/racecard/Cagnes-Sur-Mer/12-February-2023/1315 and on France Galop, here: https://www.france-galop.com/en/racing/detail/2023/P/ODY2bDJFb0c1TGtrUEIwL1BzZW1sZz09#
Timeform rated it as an a99 performance, saying: "Fitted with blinkers and upped in grade, was first past the post for a fifth successive time, but didn't need to fully reproduce the form he'd shown last time; prominent, close second home turn, driven to lead 2f out, edged left 1½f out, kept on well.”
Luke said in his Equidia interview: "He did that nicely. I had a lovely position in 2nd and everything went as planned. France is a lucky place for me!”
Syndicate manager Tom says: "He has done that well, under a peach of a ride from Luke, from that draw. Fair play to Archie, as he has had this race in mind for him for a while and well done to his team-he looked a picture in the paddock. He took the travelling well and we will have a sit down to think about his next targets. I can't think of any other horses who have won over 5f, 6f, 7f and 8f! That makes him a rare commodity. Of course this was actually the 5th time he has passed the post first, from 6 starts, but losing his Southwell race in the stewards room, so that race now shows as a '2' on his record. It was lovely to see 7 of his owners having their photos taken with him and certainly enjoying a lovely weekend by the sea too. Well done everyone - you have a very nice horse.”
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