Rouhiya strikes for Aga Khan in Poule d’Essai des Pouliches

Rouhiya sprang a surprise in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches on Sunday, swooping late to land the Classic for trainer Francis-Henri Graffard and jockey Maxime Guyon.

Trainer : FRANCIS HENRI GRAFFARD. Picture: AAP Image

It was the Brian Meehan-trained Kathmandu that was required to do all the hard work in front under Sean Levey, leading from the moment the stalls opened and agonisingly denied a head as the Aga Khan-owned Rouhiya swept past in the dying strides. Vespertilio finished third for Willie McCreery.

In an interview with Sky Sports Racing, Princess Zahra Aga Khan said: "Francis had said last year she was the Guineas filly for him, but then the going was appalling this year

"She galloped on Monday and did so well, she had such such a great gallop we thought 'do we run in the Listed race on Saturday or the Group One on Sunday' and we thought 'what the heck'. She is going to stay in our broodmare band anyway, so we may as well find out what she can do. I think we just saw what she can do!

"It was unbelievable and I'm still shaking. We knew she had ability, but you can never know she is going to do what she did.

"Maxime gave her a fantastic ride and it's great to see her family come back as it has been a few generations. 

"I'm going to have to ask Francis (about the future) but right now it does not matter, this is great."

Rouhiya was shortened from 50/1 to 33/1 for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

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