Red-hot Lemaire chasing more Classic glory

CHRISTOPHE Lemaire is confident Stacelita can maintain her unbeaten record as she goes in search of Classic glory in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly tomorrow.

Jean-Claude Rouget’s filly won three relatively minor events on her first three outings but took a step up to Group One company in her stride when annihilating her rivals in the Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp.

Lemaire admits he would have preferred more testing conditions for the French Oaks but is hopeful her class will see her through.

“We expect a very good race from her and she won very nicely last time in the Saint-Alary,” said the jockey.

“That day the ground was very soft and I think that won’t be the case on Sunday but she’s unbeaten and seems to have a lot of quality.

“Of course she is by Monsun so if the ground was soft she would be much more comfortable, but she’s a good filly and I’m looking forward to riding her again.”

Rouget has enjoyed a spectacular season so far with no less than four Group One successes, each of which was ridden by Lemaire, including the French Derby last Sunday with Le Havre.

The trainer has a second string to his bow on Sunday with French 1000 Guineas runner-up Tamazirte taking on her better-fancied stablemate, and Lemaire has the utmost respect for her.

“Tamazirte is a very nice filly who ran a very good race to finish second to Elusive Wave in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches,” Lemaire continued. “That is a very good line of form so I am a little bit afraid of her but I cannot ride two fillies.

“She has run four times this year which is maybe a negative point compared to Stacelita, who had a light spring who will come there fresh. I won a Group One by six lengths on Stacelita so it was going to be difficult to change rides.”

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox