Star colts forced to play second fiddle to Darjina

RAMONTI and George Washington were left to fight out minor honours at Longchamp yesterday as Darjina comfortably landed the Qatar Prix du Moulin.

RAMONTI and George Washington were left to fight out minor honours at Longchamp yesterday as Darjina comfortably landed the Qatar Prix du Moulin.

Alain de Royer-Dupre’s three-year-old had won the French 1000 Guineas and the Prix d’Astarte earlier in the season, but this was her first time against the colts.

However, it did not seem to make much difference as Christophe Soumillon was never far from the pace-setting Archipenko and the race was over as a contest when she hit the front a furlong out.

Frankie Dettori was content to sit just off the Ballydoyle pacemaker on Godolphin’s dual Group One winner Ramonti, while Kieren Fallon was much further back on George Washington.

Dettori made his bid for home two furlongs out but Soumillon refused to panic and bided his time.

The Princess Zahra Aga Khan-owned runner then quickened up and Ramonti had no answer, with George Washington coming all too late to claim third.

Soumillon, celebrating his first Moulin, paid handsome tribute to Darjina, who had two lengths in hand over Ramonti at the line, with George Washington a further length adrift.

He said: “She’s a remarkable filly and has done it all – running on good ground, soft ground, even heavy at Ascot, and she has gone left-handed and right-handed.

“It wasn’t easy today up against Ramonti and George Washington, but she was in superb condition and a real credit to Alain de Royer-Dupre and the whole team behind her.

“I had a dream run in the race and what really impressed me was the way she accelerated past Ramonti so easily.”

Royer-Dupre added: “She was really in good condition this afternoon compared to Deauville last time, she was ready today.

“It’s possible we could aim her at the Sun Chariot (at Newmarket on October 6).”

The trainer also indicated the winner could stay in training as a four-year-old.

Ramonti could head to the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on September 29, a race won in brilliant fashion by George Washington 12 months ago.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com: “Ramonti has run well behind a better filly.

“He is entered in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. We will see how he comes out of this race before making any plans but Ascot is an option.”

John Gosden has another potentially smart recruit on his hands after Young Pretender cosily won the Prix La Rochette earlier on the card. An easy scorer in a Newmarket maiden on his debut, the Oasis Dream colt maintained his unbeaten record under a cool Dettori.

Andre Fabre’s highly-regarded Shediak set a steady pace under Soumillon but even though Dettori left his challenge late, he picked up in the style of a smart animal. The colt holds entries in the Dewhurst and Racing Post Trophy.

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