Racing: Divine's turn of foot leaves colts trailing

Not for the first time, girl power was in evidence yesterday as a new star burst onto the juvenile scene. Divine Proportions became the second filly of her age to beat colts in a Group 1 contest this season when she took the Prix Morny at Deauville with a ruthless, decisive burst of speed and is now vying for favouritism for next year's 1,000 Guineas with the other of her ilk, the Irish crack Damson.

Not for the first time, girl power was in evidence yesterday as a new star burst onto the juvenile scene. Divine Proportions became the second filly of her age to beat colts in a Group 1 contest this season when she took the Prix Morny at Deauville with a ruthless, decisive burst of speed and is now vying for favouritism for next year's 1,000 Guineas with the other of her ilk, the Irish crack Damson.

Both young distaffers are now undefeated in four runs but the effort of Divine Proportions was visually more impressive than that mustered by Damson to win the Phoenix Stakes two weeks previously. Settled by Christophe Lemaire behind the generous pace set by the 6-4 favourite Layman, himself two for two, Pascal Bary's charge powered to the front inside the final of the six furlongs and had daylight to spare at the line.

She finished a length and a half clear, with Russian Blue the same distance back in third. The last-named Ballydoyle representative occupied the same position in the Phoenix Stakes, when he ran Damson to a length an a quarter with his stablemate Oratorio, winner of Saturday's Futurity Stakes, intervening. So Divine Proportions' form looks rock-solid and she and Damson head the market for next year's Classic at 10-1.

The ground at the seaside track was so soft that John Gosden, trainer of fifth-placed Mystical Land, described the race as "the slog in the bog". But the testing underfoot conditions did not compromise the winner. "She's proved herself a really top-class filly," said Lemaire. "She stayed the distance really well in this ground and was able to accelerate through it as soon as I asked her." Divine Proportions comes off the ever-conquering Niarchos family's élite production line. She and last year's Morny and recent Prix Jacques le Marois winner Whipper are out of the same Sadler's Wells mare, Myth To Reality, by stallions who are brothers - Kingmambo and Miesque's Son respectively - and share the same bay colouring and distinctive broad white blaze.

"I think she knew what this job was all about the moment she was born," said Bary. "She is balanced and easy to ride, and every time she races she climbs another step. She is becoming more relaxed in herself, too; her lad has done a very good job."

The best of the British challengers in the Morny was fourth-placed Captain Hurricane, but one of the day's prizes did go back across the Channel when the marathon feature, the mile and seven-furlong Prix Kergorlay, was taken by the topically-named Gold Medallist. The four-year-old, trained by David Elsworth for Jeff Smith, made every yard under Richard Hughes to account for last year's St Leger winner Brian Boru by a length and a half, four years after the late Persian Punch won the Group 2 contest for the same connections. Earlier, the Cheveley Park Stud colour-bearer Chorist (William Haggas) put up a stout effort to come in third to proven mudlark Whortleberry in the Prix Jean Romanet. But the other contest for females, the Prix de La Nonette, already devalued by the withdrawal of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe contender Latice because of the extreme ground, began and ended in chaos, and was declared void after one stall opened late and three runners ignored the false start recall.

And from a French farce, to a new French connection. Dean Gallagher, who won the 2002 Champion Hurdle but eight months later picked up an 18-month ban from riding from the Jockey Club after testing positive to cocaine for a second time, has joined François Doumen as stable jockey, replacing the trainer's recently-retired son, Thierry. Before his drugs-related problems, Gallagher had ridden extensively in France and is scheduled to be back in action at Vichy on Saturday.

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