Special Duty handed classic double in stewards room

SPECIAL Duty again benefited from the intervention of the stewards as she was awarded a second Classic in the space of 14 days with Longchamp officials promoting her to first place in the Poule D’Essai Des Pouliches yesterday.

Just a fortnight after being handed the 1000 Guineas by the Newmarket stewards after first-past-the-post Jacqueline Quest carried her right through the closing stages, Criquette Head-Maarek’s filly landed the French equivalent in similar circumstances.

Stephane Pasquier brought the 6-4 favourite from the rear of the field but only started his move after Liliside drifted left causing interference to the Aga Khan’s Rosanara and Andre Fabre’s Full Steam.

Brian Meehan’s sixth-home Lady Of The Desert was another to suffer several bouts of rough racing and her effort culminated with Kieren Fallon having to snatch her up 50 yards from the line after a gap between Liliside and stablemate Baine disappeared.

Liliside crossed the line with a head advantage over Special Duty but after a 75-minute deliberation, the stewards ruled that the interference caused by the winner was sufficient to take the race away from Francois Rohaut’s runner.

They then named Special Duty the winner with Rohaut’s Baine second, Joanna third, Rosanara fourth, Lady Of The Desert fifth and demoted Liliside to sixth in a race in which the first six over the line were covered by around a length.

The Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned Special Duty now ranks alongside Head-Maarek’s Ravinella after she completed the English-French 1000 Guineas double some 22 years ago.

Meanwhile Dick Turpin failed to steal the French 2000 Guineas as master trainer Andre Fabre landed his fifth Poule D’Essai Des Poulains with Lope De Vega.

Richard Hannon’s Greenham Stakes winner chased home French raider Makfi at Newmarket two weeks ago and followed up with another solid effort under Richard Hughes.

The 10-1 winner appeared to have it all to do from his outside draw in stall 15 but enjoyed the clearest of passages down the centre of the course under rising star Maxime Guyon. He was well on top inside the final furlong and scored with half a length in hand of Dick Turpin, with 100-1 Czech runner Shamalgan in third.

Despite Dick Turpin’s defeat, there were no long faces in the Hannon camp following Paco Boy’s Lockinge win 24 hours earlier and the team will be gunning for further Classic glory with Canford Cliffs at the Curragh next weekend.

Richard Hannon jnr, the trainer’s son and assistant, said: “He’s run a super race and has now finished second in two Guineas.

“He’s an exceptionally good horse but there are no excuses and we will now go and take our chance in the St James’s Palace.”

Fabre failed to appear at the winner’s presentation, but Guyon said: “He is a very good horse and he might stay the distance of the Prix du Jockey-Club (10 furlongs).”

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