Flotilla storms to brilliant victory on opening day of Breeders' Cup
00:53 GMT, 3 November 2012
French trainer Mikel Delzangles alone flew the European flag on day one of Breeders' Cup as Flotilla gave both him and jockey Christophe Lemaire a first Breeders’ Cup winner in the Juvenile Filly Turf.
But there was disappointment for both Richard Hannon’s eighth-placed Sky Lantern and John Gosden’s The Fugue, third to Zagora in the Filly & Mare Turf. Both got seriously blocked on the inside.
Sky Lantern cruised home under Richard Hughes after being blocked behind a wall of horses leaving, Richard Hannon jnr, assistant to his father to say: ‘Richard (Hughes) tried to get out but he got nailed in and never came off the bridle. It’s better than getting beaten on merit I suppose but very frustrating.’
Brilliant: Flotilla, ridden by Christophe Lemaire, crosses the finish line on Friday
It was Jeremy Noseda’s The Gold Cheongsam, who finished best of the Europeans in the Juvenile Filly Turf in fifth with Ralph Beckett’s Waterway Run, who was also slightly hampered, in sixth.
Flotilla, who had been an unlucky fourth in the Prix Marcel Boussac, started her winning run from behind Sky Lantern but had a clearer passage on the outside under Lemaire.
Victory was another feather in the cap of Delzangles, who also landed the 2010 2,000 Guineas with Makfi. He is now being supported by the new influx of Qatari owners in Europe, the nationality of the owners of Flotilla and Dunaden, the 2011 Melbourne Cup winner who attempts to defend his crown in Tuesday’s Melborne Cup.
Delzangles said: ‘We were hopeful today but Flotilla has won quite easily by a length.’
On the run: The field heads for the first turn during the Juvenile Fillies Turf race at Santa Anita
She is now likely to be aimed at a 1,000 Guineas next year – probably the French version.
It was not quite a repeat performance for Gosden’s The Fugue in the Filly And Mare Turf but it was equally painful viewing.
Events unfolded with an inevitable conclusion as jockey William Buick was stuck hard on the inside rail down the back stretch.
Gosden said: 'She was pinned down on the inside with nowhere to go. She was very unlucky. This is horse racing around here. These are tight tracks.'
Back in fourth was the Delzangles-trained Prix De L'Opera winner Ridasiyna with David Simcock’s I’m A Dreamer sixth, Aidan O’Brien’s Up seventh and Roger Varian’s Nahrain 10th of the 11 starters.
Happy days: Christophe Lemaire celebrates his win
The mountain European horses have to climb in races on the US Dirt was underlined when our three runners to race on the surface failed to beat a horse home.
Tom Dascombe’s Ceiling Kitty at least showed early pace in the Juvenile Sprint won by D Wayne Lukas-trained maiden Hightail but Aidan O’Brien’s 2011 Ascot Gold Cup winner Fame And Glory and Dermot Weld's Sense of Purpose in the Marathon were hopelessly tailed off.
Fame And Glory’s jockey Jamie Spencer said: ‘You either act or you don’t on Dirt and you’d definitely say he didn’t.’
They have ripped up the Santa Anita Pro-Ride on which John Gosden’s Ravens Pass 2008 Classic. There is increasingly little incentive for the Euros to go for races on the Dirt which returned to replace it.
The concluding Ladies Classic on Dirt, without European involvement, was won by defending champion Royal Delta, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Mike Smith.