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France: Aristotle demoted after trial win.

Aidan O'Brien's Derby hope Aristotle was demoted from first in the Prix Greffulhe at Longchamp yesterday, after hanging badly and interfering with one of his rivals, writes Desmond Stoneham.

The Group 2 contest was awarded to the runner-up Rhenium, with Aristotle placed third behind his principal victim Boutron.

On a bad day for O'Brien and jockey Michael Kinane, Royal Kingdom could finish only fifth in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau, won by the Andre Fabre-trained Berine's Son.

On bottomless ground, measuring 5.6 on the penetrometer, Aristotle came home two lengths clear Rhenium and Boutron in the Classic trial over an extended 10 furlongs.

But last year's Racing Post Trophy winner hung badly left from the two-furlong marker into the path of Boutron, who was just being asked for his effort, forcing Alain Junk to snatch up his mount.

Kinane, who kept his whip in the correct hand throughout and so was not suspended, said: "Aristotle ducked to the left on three occasions. It was something he's never done before. If he'd kept straight, we'd have won the race by 10 lengths."

Tammy Toomey, representing Aristotle's Ballydoyle connections, added: "He got the trip and looks as if he will stay further."

Rhenium, trained at Pau by Jean-Claude Rouget, had raced exclusively in the south-west before yesterday and had won a Class B race at Toulouse last time out.

Rouget said: "He's making constant progress and has never been extended before. If he comes out of the race well, he'll run in the Prix Lupin."

The Fabre-trained favourite Sobieski disappointed badly, dropping out in the straight to be beaten over 12 lengths.

Diana Cooper, representing owner Sheikh Mohammed, said "It's hard to judge him today, as the ground was so bad."

Fabre had enjoyed better fortunes with Berine's Son in the mile Prix de Fontainebleau.

The son of Irish River was last two furlongs out, but slipped through the field under an ice-cool ride by Christophe Soumillon to score by a length from Premier Pas, with Fabre's Slipstream King a close third.

Berine's Son, owned by Edouard de Rothschild, is set to run in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) at Longchamp on May 14.

Soumillon said: "We were always going well and my colt picked up impressively in the final stages."

Royal Kingdom was beaten two and a half lengths in fifth. Kinane said: "He stayed on, but was struggling on the ground.".

Lady Of Chad gave Gerald Mosse an armchair ride to take the mile fillies' trial, the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte, in good style, even though the winning margin was only a neck from Texalina.

Trainer Richard Gibson was well satisfied with his Prix Marcel Boussac winner, who runs next in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas) on the same day as the colts' Classic.

He said: "Lady Of Chad will progress before her next race. She has a lot of good races ahead of her."

Texalina's trainer Jean de Roualle said: "I thought my filly was a champion, but we came across another this afternoon. Texalina needs a little further, so she will go directly for the Prix de Diane."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Stoneham, Desmond
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 24, 2000
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