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French King rules again with maiden Group 1 victory in Grosser Preis von Berlin

French King made it four wins in a row and a first at Group 1 level with a cosy success in the 129th Longines Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten on Sunday.

Trained Henri-Alex Pantall and ridden by Olivier Peslier, French King is no stranger to successful trips to Germany, having previously won at Cologne and Hamburg this year.

The four-year-old opened his 2019 campaign with a win in Doha, and his progress shows no signs of stopping following his breakthrough victory at the top level.

Peslier travelled strongly into contention on French King, and never had to use the whip as the pair finished a length clear of the Mark Johnston-trained Communique.

Sheema Classic winner and favourite Old Persian was briefly impeded when French King drifted across him when going past, and finished third for Charlie Appleby and William Buick.

Pantall said: "He did it very well and he really seems to have progressed all year, notably in terms of his mind. His style of running used to worry us a little because he tended to pull his way to the front but now he relaxes and that really allows him to finish off his races. He has really come forward. 

"Watching the video back Olivier was the only one not to have moved and the rest were all hard at work. He produced a really telling burst over the last 300m, albeit he veered a little to his right. But he was very brave to see it out to the line. 

"We don’t have any particular idea about what comes next and we’ll talk it over with his owner. That decision will be made later."

It was a good afternoon for Pantall and Peslier, as earlier on the card the trainer-jockey combination won the Listed Hoppegartener Fliegerpreis over six furlongs.

Paddy Power introduced French King at 33-1 for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

A return to Germany could be on the cards for Old Persian, as Appleby said: "A bit more pace in the race would definitely have helped Old Persian. He has run steadily and travelled well into the race but just got found out for a bit of toe at the finish.

"However, it was his first run for a couple of months and it was a nice performance. We could come back to Germany with him next month and he's a nice horse going into the autumn.”

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