Giofra shines in Falmouth

A French victory in Newmarket’s Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes had been expected yesterday but it came through the less obvious source of the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Giofra.

Golden Lilac, a rare British runner from Andre Fabre, arrived with glowing reviews and was sent off the 10-11 favourite but was perceived to have been too keen on unsuitably soft ground and finished in front of just one of her nine rivals.

While Fabre’s raids are always feared, it could equally be said there are no half-measures with Royer-Dupre’s overseas forays as the distinguished trainer has won a Champion Stakes and a Melbourne Cup in his time.

Royer-Dupre feels the best is yet to come from the lightly-raced Giofra (10-1), who was brushed aside by Cirrus Des Aigles at Longchamp last time but proved half a length too strong against her own sex.

Christophe Soumillon ventured up the far rail and switched slightly to the right for a better view with a couple of furlongs remaining, bearing down on the positively-ridden Elusive Kate and getting on top close to the line.

“I was quite surprised they haven’t been going up the far side as it’s virgin ground,” said the Belgian jockey.

“A quicker pace would have been better as she was a bit keen but she had a good target in front of her and she won like a champion filly.”

Royer-Dupre said: “I thought she was a seriously good filly. I’ve known that for a long time, but she had leg trouble at the beginning of her three-year-old campaign and came back a new filly at four.

“It was a risk to run at a mile, because I feel she can continue over 10 furlongs. The Nassau Stakes at Goodwood is a possibility, or the Prix Jean Romanet, and if she stays 12 furlongs, she could run in the Arc.”

Of Golden Lilac, declared the best filly he has trained, Fabre said: “The ground was probably a reason – that’s racing.”

He earlier said: “Probably, she didn’t settle. She ran too free.”

John Gosden said of Elusive Kate: “I couldn’t be more pleased with her and she may go to Deauville or the Matron Stakes.”

Continuing the Gallic theme, Francois Doumen’s Siyouma closed for third.

Northern Irish trainer Andy Oliver took away the other Group prize as Sendmylovetorose maintained her unbeaten record in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes.

Withdrawn from last month’s Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot after getting trapped underneath the starting stalls, the 2-1 favourite had already redeemed herself in a Curragh Group Three and was given a no-nonsense ride up the centre of the track by Colm O’Donoghue.

Although looking the obvious winner, she only survived by a neck as Maureen staged a dramatic finish.

“She handled the soft ground, but I’ve never said she needs it,” said Oliver.

“I haven’t decided about her next entries, but she would have to be supplemented for the Lowther, which is a race we could look at. There are also options like the Phoenix Stakes and the Cheveley Park.

“She’s a very tough filly and Colm just kept it very simple.”

Mark Johnston has been worrying about the health of his large string but Fulbright (10-1) bucked the trend in the £100,000 Betfred “The Bonus King” Stakes.

The Middleham trainer said: “The horses haven’t been running well – we’ve had a lot of coughing and a lot of skin and foot infections which are probably because of the bad weather.

“This horse has been an exception, we’ve kept him on the go and he always runs well.”

Gosden looks to have a useful juvenile in Ghurair (3-1 favourite) who stamped his class in the Weatherbys E.B.F. Maiden Stakes, earning a 25-1 quote from Ladbrokes for the 2000 Guineas.

“Paul Hanagan rode him in work and loved him,” Gosden said.

Brendan Powell, taking a brief sojourn from the jumps, partnered a Royal winner as the Queen’s Free Verse (8-1) scooted clear in the Piper-Heidsieck E.B.F. Fillies’ Handicap.

* German raider Gracia Directa claimed a surprise victory in the Summer Stakes at York.

Despite winning her last two starts and travelling halfway across Europe, Dominik Moser’s filly was allowed to go off at 14-1 for what looked a strong Group Three.

The William Haggas-trained Sentaril was the hot favourite following her fast-finishing second in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, while last year’s Nunthorpe winner Margot Did was bidding to bounce back to form.

But neither managed to get involved as Gracia Directa stayed on strongly to score by half a length.

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