Beaten Fantasia set for French return trip

Luca Cumani nominated a return trip to France as the most likely option for Fantasia after her third-place finish in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp.

Luca Cumani nominated a return trip to France as the most likely option for Fantasia after her third-place finish in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp.

Frankie Dettori steered the 8-11 favourite home behind Jean-Claude Rouget’s pair of Elusive Wave and Tamazirte in the French Classic, concluding a disappointing week for Campbell Soup magnate George Strawbridge.

The American owner’s Rainbow View failed to justify cramped odds in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last week, and Fantasia suffered a similar fate as she was beaten two lengths by the 5-1 winner.

Strawbridge is keen to keep his star fillies apart, and Cumani believes the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) is the next logical step for Fantasia.

He said: “I am disappointed as she was favourite. If she had not been favourite and had finished third in a Group One it wouldn’t have been a bad result, but there was a lot of expectation.

“I would say we would look at the Prix de Diane (Chantilly, June 14) for her, as I am reluctant to go from a mile to a mile and a half at Epsom, and would rather take incremental steps.”

Strawbridge added of his two fillies: “I couldn’t stand for one to beat the other, so they will go their separate ways.

“It is distinctly possible Rainbow View will run at Epsom in the Oaks, and I don’t see the mile-and-a-half distance being a problem.

“We will discuss options for this filly with Luca. She is still a very good filly.”

Ladbrokes removed Fantastia from their Oaks betting, while the French Oaks or a trip to Royal Ascot are options for the Christophe Lemaire-ridden winner.

Rouget said: “I’d like to get them both home before making a plan, but the Coronation and the Prix de Diane would both be options for Elusive Wave.”

Deauville trainer Yves de Nicolay sent out Silver Frost to swoop late under Christophe Soumillon in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, much to the delight of his Harrogate-based owner John Cotton.

The pillow and duvet manufacturer is best known through his jumps racing association, and his Dear Villez landed the Munster National for Paul Nicholls last autumn.

And after just a small number of Flat successes, Cotton hit the big time on the level after his 7-1 chance challenged late to fend off Le Havre.

Cotton said: “I now love French racing and have five horses with Guillaume Macaire and three with Yves.

“We will have to discuss plans with the trainer but Christophe thinks he could be a French Derby horse.”

Asked about the colt’s prospects of staying the 10-furlong trip in the Prix du Jockey Club, Soumillon added: “Many good milers have run well in the French Derby, Shamardal was a miler and won the race and Natagora last year ran well over the trip.”

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