Dettori jumping for joy
Johnny Barnes, the Bermudian-owned thoroughbred, returned to form with his first win of the season in the Prix Quincy Barriere group three race at the Deauville Racecourse yesterday.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Johnny Barnes beat several previous winners at this level in the seven-furlong race to claim the winner's prize of €50,400 (about $57,000) for the Bermuda Thoroughbred Racing owners.
Dettori, a three-times champion jockey, even treated the owners and their entourage to one of his famous flying dismounts in the winner's enclosure to celebrate the win.
It was a commanding performance by Johnny Barnes, who travelled strongly from halfway and cruised past his rivals to win by a couple of lengths without having to be asked for maximum effort.
The bay colt, trained by John Gosden, had finished fifth and eighth in his previous two races in England, but made the most of the softer conditions in France that suit him best.
Simon Scupham, the BTR chairman who attended the race in Normandy, said he was told by Dettori that “even you could have won on him today!”
“Frankie rode a peach of a ride and even gave us one of his trademark flying dismounts in the winner's circle,” Scupham said. “It was one of the best racing days ever — and I have been fortunate to experience a few.
“I had friends and family with us and even managed to get one of our owners there who hadn't previously seen him run. It could not have been scripted better.”
Dettori said the conditions were the key for Johnny Barnes. “He goes on good ground, but he is a really good horse on soft,” Dettori said. “We were praying for the rain and we got it.
“Weather depending but he could be interesting for something like the Daniel Wildenstein [a group two race at Longchamp in France].”
Mark Kershaw, of Highclere Thoroughbreds, which manages the syndicate for the BTR owners, believes a step up in class could also be beneficial if the ground is right for last year's Criterium International runner-up.
“There is a very valuable race on Champions Day, the Balmoral Handicap, which we would be tempted to try and qualify for,” Kershaw said. “But he has won so well that we would have to think about aiming a bit higher and the Wildenstein could come into the equation.”