THEY don’t call him Super Soumi for nothing.
The brilliant Belgian’s special powers were on full display at Sandown as he partnered Vadeni to a narrow win in the Coral-Eclipse.
Soumillon celebrated wildly after Vadeni’s Sandown win
The French wonder horse looked in trouble at the bottom of the straight, but he was lifted home by an inspired Christophe Soumillon in a thrilling race.
The jockey has long been the man for the big occasion, and there aren’t many bigger occasions than this on the Flat in Britain.
The Eclipse is the first opportunity the three-year-olds get to take on the older horses – a race designed to sort the wheat from the chaff.
It’s the original generation game, but there is more on the line than a cuddly toy or a toaster.
Both Soumillon and trainer Jean-Claude Rouget know that, and they wouldn’t have encouraged owner the Aga Khan to cough up £50,000 to run Vadeni if they didn’t think he was a bit special.
When the 11-4 shot said ‘au revoir’ to his rivals 100 yards out it was clear their big gamble had paid off.
It ended France’s 62-year wait for Eclipse success, though jockey David Egan felt Mishriff was an unlucky loser in second as he was boxed in at a crucial stage.
Soumillon said: “When I came out of the turn the pace started to pick up, and for about 150 yards he was off the bridle a bit and I was a little worried.