Luxembourg won the Irish Group A champions title in Leopardstown on Saturday to Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.
The highly regarded three-year-old was a leading figure in the season’s classics even before his cheerful third place finish at the 2000 Genius at Newmarket.
A setback kept him out of the midsummer competitions but Luxembourg made a huge comeback at the Royal Web Stakes in August and was expected to take a big step forward from that tour.
Luxembourg did not disappoint in a strong renovation. Stablemates Stone Age and Broome were left to their own devices up front and the former was still four clear lengths and passing the three furlong mark but weakened while doing his job as the field closed him at the two posts in a straight line.
Onesto had raced close to the winner in the first part of the race and briefly came to the front, braving Stone Age and Luxembourgish, but was soon crushed by the winner cutting half a length on the line.
Vadeni and Mishriff raced the last two and struggled to strike, but the first, the Eclipse winner at Sandown, found his way blocked off outside and forward, made a dramatic left-handed substitution inside the Stone Age under Christophe Summillon and snatched third, never coming close to the goal line.
Mishref was in fourth place with the fifth stone age.
O’Brien was winning the race for the fourth year in a row while it was the third success in four years for Moore who said: “It wasn’t a straightforward year for him. He had great success in Guinea but it wasn’t. Right after that.
“It was a good, fair race. He beat some good kids at the age of three and some older horses. He always felt like he was in control of the race but was a bit green. Frankel’s horse was always there but I always felt like I had him. Very professional and likable performance” .
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is an obvious choice for the end of the season and Moore doesn’t think Luxembourg will have any difficulty dealing with a step up.
“He was very comfortable at ten o’clock today,” he replied. “I always felt that if I had to ask him more, he would have found a little more and I don’t think a mile and a half would be a problem.”
Luxembourg is a 6/1 chance to race the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with the Coral.
O’Brien gave deserved credit to his team for helping get Luxembourg’s season back on track, saying: “It’s been incredible from so many people (to get the horse back) and Ryan has given him a fantastic run. Going to Curragh (for the Royal Whip) we felt he was ready. Only for gallop horse racing.
“He couldn’t come here unless he had a race, which is why we were very happy with him at Curragh. He had 20 to 30 percent to get better from Curragh, and you usually don’t race in a group race like that.
“The plan and the dream was, if we can get him back, we set him up for three races – if we can get him to Curragh, he can come here and if he comes here he can go to Arc. The pace was strong and he was an even pace. He’s obviously a very good horse.
“Ryan almost fell off him in Guinea (after stumbling leaving the stalls) and only got hit twice. He had to be a little different to do what he did in Guinea. He wasn’t giving up at the line today and could be better than a mile and a half. His head was in the cook Far from this straight path and did not stop.
“Ryan was very impressed and he’s not an optimist by nature! Normally if he’s even a little impressed this will do.
“I don’t think we’ve had an atmosphere at a flat meeting in Ireland like this in a long time. He was applauded for coming out which is very rare.”
Soumillon, speaking after Victory on boardannounced that he was satisfied with Fadini’s victory in third place.
“I was always very confident, I was behind Ryan, he was a little careful, he wasn’t over-racing, but I feel like he was a little fresh today,” he said.
“He had a little hit at that point (when Musharraf went outside), it was a bit early for him (to make his move) and I made the choice to go between horses. I don’t think he was a hundred percent fit.
“It was a good race today, of course, but there are some big races still to come this season. I could feel the horse taking that little hit, he didn’t do it in the French Derby or at Sandown, so I wanted to give it more coverage, He ran well, and finished in front of a Musharraf again.
“The ground was a bit loose on top today and I don’t think that’s best for him, I’m sure he’d prefer it when the ground is better.”