Thursday 30 June 2011
SARAFINA overcame far from ideal racing circumstances to strike in the final yards of the mile and a half Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Gr 1) on Sunday. A slow early pace meant that the four-year-old filly took her time to relax and she entered the straight in last position under Christophe Lemaire before producing an impressive double acceleration to join the leaders and then to pass the courageous Cirrus Des Aigles.
This was a well-deserved first top-level victory against the colts for SARAFINA, who finished third in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and second in her seasonal debut in the Prix Ganay in April on her previous outings in male company. The Prix Saint-Alary and Prix de Diane heroine now counts three Group 1 successes and she had warmed up for this win with an easy victory in the Gr 2 Prix Corrida at the same track.
The daughter of Refuse To Bend proves that she has retained all her talent during the transition from three to four years old and may even have progressed. SARAFINA is well on course for her major objective of the season, a second tilt at the Gr 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and Alain de Royer Dupré indicated that his charge could take in the Gr 1 Prix Vermeille or Gr 2 Prix Foy as a prep race in September.
Earlier in the afternoon at Saint-Cloud, the lightly-raced SHANKARDEH put up an excellent performance to finish third, beaten less than half a length, in the Gr 2 Prix de Malleret. This AZAMOUR half-sister to Prix de l’Opéra winner Shalanaya (Lomitas) was stepping up in class on just her third racecourse appearance after a pair of successes earlier this year and looks to have a bright future ahead of her.
Updated on 30/06/2011.