Skip to content

French 2000 Guineas: Isaac Shelby edged out by Marhaba Ya Sanafi in ParisLongchamp Classic

Brian Meehan's three-year-old won the Greenham Stakes last month and opted to run in Paris as opposed to Newmarket; that decision was almost vindicated with a narrow second in the French Classic

Marhaba Ya Sanafi just did enough to defeat Isaac Shelby at ParisLongchamp
Image: Marhaba Ya Sanafi just did enough to defeat Isaac Shelby at ParisLongchamp

Trainer Brian Meehan was left frustrated after Isaac Shelby had to make do with the runner-up spot behind shock winner Marhaba Ya Sanafi in the French 2000 Guineas at ParisLongchamp.

Winner of two of his three juvenile starts last season, including the Group Two Superlative Stakes, Issac Shelby made an impressive reappearance in the Greenham at Newbury three weeks ago.

Meehan immediately ruled out a tilt at the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, instead electing to head for the French equivalent, and he was well fancied to claim Classic glory in the hands of Sean Levey.

Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter
Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter

See the latest horse racing news, interviews and features from Sky Sports Racing

The Night Of Thunder colt did little wrong and powered to the lead against the far rail in the straight, but was unable to resist the late surge of the widely unconsidered Marhaba Ya Sanafi.

While proud of his stable star's performance, Meehan felt he was not seen to best effect.

"We're a little frustrated with the pace really," he told Sky Sports Racing. "We were just talking about the middle third of the race, they seemed to go a little steady for him. Sean's comment was that they weren't going quick enough for him.

"He's run a lovely race, I'm very proud of the horse and delighted for the owners and my team at home.

Also See:

"It's always good to be at that end of a Classic race, but I think there's more to come. I think he's a better horse than he showed today and I think maybe the pace had something to do with it."

Meehan confirmed Isaac Shelby will now head for Royal Ascot, but whether he will stick to a mile or drop back in distance remains to be seen.

He added: "Royal Ascot will be his next target, there's the St James's Palace Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup, so we'll see."

Marhaba Ya Sanafi, trained by Andreas Schutz and ridden by Mickael Barzalona, was no match for American Flag in last month's Prix de Fontainebleau, but turned the tables on the favourite, who failed to pick up for Christophe Soumillon and was ultimately a little disappointing in fourth place.

Get racing news on your phone
Get racing news on your phone

Never miss a story with all the latest racing news, interviews and features on your phone. Find out more

"I'm not at all (surprised), I expected him to run in the first five," said Schutz. "You couldn't tell what the result would be. I wasn't expecting to win, but I was hoping he would get a good amount of money because I thought the horse had really improved from his last run.

"He didn't have a hard preparation going into his first two races of the season, so I thought if any horse was to improve, it would be him.

"He came off the bridle quite early in the race, but when he got daylight into the straight, you could tell there was a bit of gas left in the tank. Everything worked out to plan."

Schutz confirmed the Prix du Jockey Club, the French Derby, as the most "logical" next port of call.

Around Sky