Giofra grabs Falmouth glory
Friday 13 July 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
1 Giofra (C Soumillon) 10-1
2 Elusive Kate (L Dettori) 25-1
3 Siyouma (G Mosse) 33-1
The French took the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket today but it was Giofra and not odds-on favourite Golden Lilac that landed the spoils in the Group One feature.
Golden Lilac was sent off the 10-11 favourite on account of her defeat of Cirrus Des Aigles last time out but the rain-softened going blunted her turn of foot and Giofra outstayed Elusive Kate to the line.
Siyouma, trained by Francois Doumen, was third, while Golden Lilac was ninth of the ten runners after Chachamaidee was withdrawn on account of the going.
Elusive Kate looked to have shrugged off her 252-day layoff when she went for home three furlongs out under Frankie Dettori but Christophe Soumillon always had his Italian rival in his sights and picked him up inside the final furlong to score by half a length.
"When she hit the front she looked around, and with Frankie you never think you’ve won until you pass the post because he always has something in reserve in the last 100 metres,” Soumillon said. “I had nothing left and had to concentrate all the way to the line.
“I expected her to win as she is a great filly.”
Alain de Royer-Dupre, the winning trainer, clearly also thinks a great deal of the daughter of Dansili and barely wavered when quizzed about his intended target of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. “She is that good,” said the Melbourne Cup-winning trainer.
The Prix de l’Opera, run on the same card as the Arc in October, is also a possibility and Soumillon suggested that the race’s ten furlongs might suit better than the 12 furlongs of Europe’s championship contest.
“I think she will be better over ten furlongs. We can keep her to a mile or step up in distance for something like the Nassau in a few weeks (at Glorious Goodwod),” the Belgian rider added. “She is entered in both the Opera and the Arc and both races are a possibility. She would be more likely to race in the Opera if the ground was soft, although she handles everything.”
It was Soumillon’s first Group One victory in Britain since he was stripped of £50,000 for use of the whip on Cirrus Des Aigles at the inaugural British Champions Day in October. The ruling about the 31-year-old was later overturned .
“It’s nice to leave here with some cash in my pocket,” Soumillon joked.
Elusive Kate will now head to Deauville next month or the Group One Matron Stakes at Leopardstown after narrowly failing to shrug off her layoff.
It was Giofra’s high cruising speed and superior fitness that won the race with the French filly’s final sectional reading 13.28 seconds compared to the 13.76 of the defeated Elusive Kate.
“We were delighted with her, it was nice to get her back on the track,” John Gosden, her trainer, said. “She has always been a good filly and I couldn’t be more pleased with her.”
Andre Fabre was left ruing the performance of Golden Lilac and although he initially suggested the favourite ran too freely he later attributed her flop to the going.
“That was her first bad race but the ground was probably a reason – that’s racing,” he said.
With Giofra pencilled in for Glorious Goodwood, Ed Dunlop sounded a warning that stable star Snow Fairy might not be ready in time for the Nassau.
"It may come too early," the trainer told Racing UK radio. "She has just strarted doing some half speed work. We are hapy with er so far. She looks very well but whether she's ready I just don;t know yet."