Racing UK

Senga storms to French Oaks glory as Rhododendron pulled up

Sunday 18 June 2017

Pascal Bary

By staff

Rhododendron reportedly bled from the nose and was pulled up in the Prix de Diane as Senga won a rough renewal of the Chantilly Classic.

Aidan O'Brien's filly found only stablemate Winter too strong in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket at the start of last month and was then outstayed by the John Gosden-trained Enable in the Oaks at Epsom a little over a fortnight ago.

Rhododendron appeared to be well positioned in the middle of the pack at the halfway stage of the French Oaks, but was pulled up quickly by Ryan Moore, who dismounted before the home turn.

Gosden's Shutter Speed brought an unbeaten record and strong form to the table, having beaten stablemate Enable at Newbury before landing the Musidora Stakes at York.

Frankie Dettori managed to navigate his mount across from her wide draw and she looked to be delivering a strong challenge in the straight.

However, she had no answer when Pascal Bary's Senga found top gear in the hands of Stephane Pasquier.

Pascal Bary won this race in 2005 with the champion Divine Proportions, who carried the same colours.

"She is a fantastic filly, from a fantastic breeding operation," Bary said.  

"We definitely ran her over too short before! Her connections trusted me to let her run in this race, despite having run only two weeks ago. She has a good run, in a race with consistent pace, and showed a superb turn of foot." 

Alan Cooper, racing manager for successful owners Flaxman Stables, said: "We're absolutely thrilled with her performance.

"We were expecting a good run, if she stayed. She obviously enjoyed the extra ground and won well.

"She only ran two weeks ago and has had a busy year so far, so she's going to have a rest now.

"We'll see when she comes back whether we step her up in trip or come back down."

It was a closely-run thing for second, with Sistercharlie narrowly getting the better of Terrakova.

Shutter Speed eventually finished fourth, and Gosden was pleased despite missing out on a podium finish. 

"She delivered a superb performance, and there are no excuses," he said.

"She jumped from a wide draw as well as she could. I thought that Frankie Dettori rode her very well. At one point she looked like she was coming to win. Two thousand metres (10f) is the perfect distance for her. Here, she had 100 meters too far, and anyway the winner was simply a better horse." 

Henri-Alex Pantall was left to rue a turbulent dash to the line for runner-up Sistercharlie.

He said: "She didn't have a clear run, neither in the turn nor the straight, where she had to wind he way through.

"It's a shame when you see the way she finished, but that's racing."

The beautifully-bred Terrakova is now poised for a rise in distance after she caught the eye in third place.

Trainer Freddy Head said: "She put up a great performance as she had been caught flat-footed when the rest of the field kicked.

"She got a few bumps, so she couldn't follow them when they jumped and so couldn't get near the pace.

"Despite that, she ran well. It's only her third start, and it's promising. She should step up in trip to a mile and a half."

There was further drama earlier in the race as Christophe Soumillon was unseated from Onthemoonagain.

The Belgian-born rider was stood down for the remainder of the day after he suffered a suspected shoulder injury.



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