Stacelita wins French Oaks

The red-hot run of trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and jockey Christophe Lemaire continued as Stacelita absolutely bolted up in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly today.

The red-hot run of trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and jockey Christophe Lemaire continued as Stacelita absolutely bolted up in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly today.

Settled in second behind the pace-setting Onega Lake, Lemaire had an armchair ride all the way and his mount's acceleration was stunning when he pressed the button just inside the two pole.

Stablemate and French 1000 Guineas runner-up Tamazirte made it another big-race one-two for Rouget, but British hope Fantasia finished well held.

The daughter of Monsun had destroyed a Group One field by six lengths previously in the Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp on soft ground, and proved conclusively here that she handles quicker conditions just as well.

Bookmaker reaction was swift with William Hill going 7-1 for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe about the winner, who looks like she could be the new Zarkava and was taking her unbeaten record to five. Victor Chandler cut her to 8-1 from 16s.

Coral also go 7-1, making her second-favourite for the Arc behind Epsom Derby hero Sea The Stars. Spokesman David Stevens said: "Zarkava proved to be too good for the colts in last year's Arc, and after winning the French Oaks in similar style, Stacelita has to be considered a credible contender to emulate that great filly at Longchamp in October."

Having won the French 1000 Guineas with Elusive Wave and the French Derby with Le Havre, Rouget has rightly emerged as a superstar across the Channel, and is set to saddle the former as well as Never On Sunday at Royal Ascot.

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