Racing: Divine Proportions to risk unbeaten run against colts

The beautiful filly hardly had to shift her elegant stride beyond third gear to notch her fifth Group One success and prime herself for the Prix Jacques le Marois back over the same straight mile at the seaside track in 13 days' time. That will be crunch-time for Divine Proportions' reputation as France's three-year-old superstar. She will face colts, including a formidable pair in her contemporary Dubawi and four-year-old Valixir, for the first time this season.

And though she queened it over the boys last year in the Prix Robert Papin and Morny, there is a world of difference between taking on teenagers and men. But certainly, against her own sex she is invincible, unlike Michelle Wie. She was 2-9 favourite yesterday after her slaughtering successes in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane and gave her supporters hardly an instant's anxiety, even though Christophe Lemaire, in the saddle, had to adopt Plan B. Slightly slow from the gate, Divine Proportions was at the back of the field as her pacemaking Pascal Bary stablemate Yellow Purple pulled the field of ten along, and Lemaire found no direct route through the pack when the time came to move.

But even being forced to steer wide right-handed in search of a gap did not interrupt his mount's inexorable rhythm. The white-blazed head was in front a furlong out and its owner swept insouciantly clear to outclass 40-1 German raider Shapira by two lengths with her pretty ears pricked.

"The race did not go exactly as I'd planned," said Lemaire, "I was hoping to keep tabs on our leader. But she is all class, and was super-relaxed and cool. This race will have done her a lot of good and was an important step forward to the Marois. And I have to once again say 'thank you' to Thierry Gillet [on Yellow Purple]. He stepped up the pace at 500 metres which helped me a lot."

Divine Proportions is upholding a fine tradition of high-class female milers in the famous two-tone blue colours, Miesque and Six Perfections being but two. Looking beyond the Marois, the latest heroine is already 5-2 ante-post favourite to follow in their hoofprints in the Breeders Cup Mile, this year at Belmont Park in October.

"Riding this filly is like sitting on a Miesque every three weeks," added Lemaire. "She's a true champion, but it does not make me nervous, I'm just thrilled to be part of her story." Before yesterday, Bary made no secret of the fact that Divine Proportions was undercooked. "We gave her a few weeks' rest after the Diane," he said. "She put on weight and there will be a margin of improvement. She will be better next time and that is exactly how I want her."

Although her pedigree indicates that Divine Proportions will stay further than the extended ten furlongs of the Diane, (her dam is by Sadler's Wells out of a sister to Shirley Heights), she is unlikely to be asked, this year at least, to tackle a mile and a half. That would rule out a race like the Prix Vermeille, target of two other of this season's fine collection of distaff stars, Irish Oaks heroine Shawanda and Alexander Goldrun, sparkling winner of the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

A Group One task, but for him a first one, may also await Saturday's other celebrity, the last-stride Stewards' Cup winner Gift Horse. "We wouldn't be fazed by going up to that level," said trainer Dandy Nicholls yesterday.

"I should think that the six furlongs of the Haydock Sprint Cup would suit him. We'll have to see what the handicapper does, though."

Yesterday at Newbury Punctilious, placed in the Epsom and Curragh Oaks last year, bounced back to winning form by two lengths in a listed 12-furlong contest, her first victory since taking the Ribblesdale Stakes more than 12 months ago. The Godolphin colourbearer holds an entry in the Yorkshire Oaks later this month and trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said: "That will have given her confidence, but we'll see how she is before deciding anything."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence