Jockey Lemaire salutes a Divine filly

Connections of Divine Proportions have paid glowing tributes to the dual Classic-winning filly who has been retired to the paddocks after suffering a tendon injury.

Connections of Divine Proportions have paid glowing tributes to the dual Classic-winning filly who has been retired to the paddocks after suffering a tendon injury.

The daughter of Kingmambo won the first nine of her 10 races including five Group Ones for €1.3m in prize money and was ridden on each occasion by Christophe Lemaire.

The jockey singled out her stunning success in June’s Prix de Diane as the memory that would remain forever etched in his mind.

“For me that day at Chantilly was extra special,” said Lemaire. “She prevailed in her duel with Vadawina and won with great class, without being pushed to her limit.

“Racehorses are fragile machines and when she accelerated she was very very strong, and even if it was easy for her she still had to give a huge effort.

“She had an electric spark in her with so much energy, in the mornings that would sometimes result in her knocking off her lad or pulling hard. She was a real bomb, and had so much enthusiasm, she never refused to work.

“I hope to find another one or two like her in my career, but it will be hard.”

The French 1000 Guineas and Oaks heroine lost her unbeaten record on what turned out to be her final start when she was a disappointing fourth behind Dubawi in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on August 14.

Reflecting on that run, Lemaire added: “I never felt there was anything wrong with her that day, she didn’t come back lame or anything, but she was just missing her trademark finishing kick – her acceleration was missing.

“I did put it down to the effects of a long season but I guess it’s something of a relief to know there was a precise eason behind her run that day.”

Divine Proportions raced in the colours of the Niarchos Family and was trained by Pascal Bary at Chantilly.

Alan Cooper, racing manager to the owners, said: “She was an absolutely fantastic filly, a superb race mare. It’s so unfortunate that she has had to be retired on veterinary advice.

“We got the news yesterday afternoon and it’s so sad, but at least she is in good shape.

“It is a big blow to all the team, the owners and Pascal Bary’s stable. She also had built up a great fan club.

“The highlight of her career for me was for her to be unbeaten in her first nine starts.

“That was incredible and her victories included five Group Ones. That was a tribute to the filly herself.”

Bary was devastated. “The news is very brutal for me as she’d never had a training problem and was in brilliant form before the Marois but I did suspect something might be amiss four or five days after she returned to Chantilly,” the trainer told the Racing Post.

“Since returning to my yard she has undergone extensive tests and the vets have found tendon damage in her off fore-leg.

“They have recommended that such a brilliant filly should not race again, so a decision has been made to send her to stud.

“Divine Proportions was the best horse I’ve ever trained and she had all the qualities of a great champion.”

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