Arab Times

Rouget strikes again in French 2,000


PARIS, May 13, (AFP): Jean-Claude Rouget and jockey Cristian Demuro won France’s first classic of the season, the French 2,000 Guineas, with Olmedo on Sunday to follow up last year’s success with Brametot.

Rouget’s 2017 Poule d’Essai des Poulains champion went on to success in the French Derby and the trainer based in Pau confirmed the Prix du JockeyClub as Olmedo’s next target.

The 13-5 chance, last year’s top rated two-yearold in France, is favourite to follow up in the Chantilly classic.

He is owned by Spaniard Antonio Caro, who has already tasted French Derby success with the Rouget-trained Almanzor in 2016.

Olmedo prevailed in a close finish, coming with a late charge to deny Hey Gaman (32-1) by a neck and Dice Roll (42-10) a nose away in third.

The mile prize was back at its traditiona­l home after the last two runnings were held in Deauville as Longchamp now rebranded as ParisLongc­hamp underwent an extensive renovation.

“He has some accelerati­on to chase the leaders down from there and it’s not easy here when they get away in front. He’ll go to the Jockey Club next, there isn’t much choice,” commented Rouget. forced to withdraw during a second round match in Marseille in February against world number 193 Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.

Three Americans advanced on the first day on the red clay in Rome with 13th seed Jack Sock beating Spaniard David Ferrer 6-3, 6-4, and Ryan Harrison ousting Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

But 12th-seeded American Sam Querrey fell 6-2, 7-6 (9/7) to Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk while Italian wild card Lorenzo Sonego came back from a set down to defeat France’s Adrian Mannarino 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Seven-time Rome winner Rafael Nadal is the top men’s seed as the world number one competes after suffering his first clay-court defeat in almost a year in the Madrid quarter-finals to Austrian Dominic Thiem.

The women’s tournament at the Foro Italico starts Monday, with two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova withdrawin­g citing a muscular injury after winning Saturday’s Madrid Open final, her second title in two weeks after also taking the Prague Open.

Four-time former Rome champion Serena Williams withdrew last week as she is struggling to be fit after having a baby last year.

World number one Simona Halep is the top women’s seed.

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