Both French Guineas trials at Longchamp (France) on Sunday were won in impressive style.
Both French Guineas trials at Longchamp (France) on Sunday were won in impressive style. Five length victor of the Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) in October, Blue Rose Cen (Churchill) outclassed her rivals again with an all the way success in the Prix de la Grotte (G3) over a mile on heavy ground. Jockey Aurelien Lemaitre allowed the filly to go to the lead shortly after the start and when shaken up at the two-furlong mark, she quickened and raced clear for an easy and comfortable one-and-a-half length victory. Trained by Christopher Head, Blue Rose Cen was having her seventh race start. Victory in the Prix de la Grotte (G3) marked a fifth career success and she remains undefeated in three races over the Longchamp mile. The previously undefeated Lindy (Le Havre) finished a strong second with Palerma (Alex The Winner) a further one-and-three-quarter lengths away in third.
American Flag (Wootton Bassett) stamped himself as a leading contender for the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (G1) [French Guineas] by winning the Prix de Fontainebleau (G3) very cosily. Settled at the rear of the five runners, jockey Christophe Soumillon nursed him until just prior to the furlong pole when he unleashed a powerful run in the middle of the track to go straight past rivals and win with plenty in hand. Trained by Yann Barbarot, the colt had commenced his season with a three length victory in the Prix Omnium II (L) at Saint-Cloud four weeks ago. All four starts have been on soft or heavy going. He is closely related to Tres Blue (Anabaa Blue), winner of the Grand Prix de Deauville (G2).
The heavy track saw the withdrawal of the Aidan O'Brien trained Victoria Road (Saxon Road), winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Keeneland in November, who was seeking fifth successive victory.
Earlier on the card, Juddmonte owned Flight Leader (Frankel) won his seasonal reappearance in the Prix Noailles (G3) over 10½ furlongs. Trained by André Fabre, the colt was having his third race start and scored by neck from Harry Way (Galiway) with the Aidan O'Brien trained Londoner (Saxon Warrior) a further neck away in third. Flight Leader concluded last year winning his maiden at Chantilly over 1800m and holds an entry for the Prix du Jockey Club (G1), the same distance as Sunday's race.