Racing: Perfect Pride proves deadly

France takes Champion Stakes but Bolger has the potential stars of the future

There have been some near misses, but yesterday, at last, Pride came before all. The mare from Chantilly produced a scintillating display to take the Champion Stakes by an easy three lengths, a year after finishing second in the same Group One feature and 13 days after her narrow defeat in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Jockey Christophe Lemaire went past the post with his forefinger raised in the time-honoured number one gesture and it is difficult to disagree with his assessment of the six-year-old.

Behind her, Rob Roy belied his 20-1 starting price as he proved best of the trio from the Sir Michael Stoute yard, a head in front of Hurricane Run. Sir Percy, running for the first time since winning the Derby, was an abject disappointment, beating only one home. "I thought it might be easy," said Lemaire, "but not that easy." The key to Pride, who has now won eight of her 25 starts and nearly £1.5 million for her owner-breeder Sven Hanson, is the ground. She has a prejudice against fast underfoot conditions and although the sky was bright and the air warm yesterday, the rain had done enough for her earlier in the week.

Viewed from ground level by the winning post, the straight, undulating 10 furlongs here has a barely visible vanishing point. As the eight runners broke from the stalls as a tiny, distant speck, the 9-4 favourite Hurricane Run took on the trailblazing role. Lemaire kept Pride towards the back of the pack, behind Sir Percy.

The group of horses, galloping down the centre of the track, came into focus, acquired individual identities. For a stride, the pale mauve jacket worn by Martin Dwyer on Sir Percy was in front, but only for a stride, and the roar from the stands for the Epsom hero died in so many throats. Then it was apparent that one entity had detached itself from the rest and Pride danced up the hill with her ears pricked.

"I was confident all the way," added Lemaire, "I was always travelling well behind Sir Percy, and he did a good job for us, kept going long enough. I pulled her out 300 metres from the line and she immediately came on the bridle. She is a delight. She is only small, but she is well made and rides like a much bigger horse. In the past she has been difficult, she used to get anxious and pull, but this year she has grown up in her mind and is very relaxed, a complete professional. When she gets her ground she is very tough to beat but today she was quite magnificent. And bravo to the team who got her here. To bring a horse back to 100 per cent after a tough race like the Arc is some achievement." Pride is trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre. "Maybe," he said, "I at last understand her, now that she is six." The mare was, in fact, the oldest post-war winner of the Champion Stakes.

One man dominated the part of the day devoted to the teenage equine athletes, the stars of the future. Teofilo, the colt, and Finsceal Beo, the filly, both hail from Jim Bolger's Kilcullen yard in Co Kildare and both produced remarkable performances.

The Dewhurst Stakes had been perceived as a match between Teofilo and his old rival Holy Roman Emperor, from Ballydoyle, and so it proved. Teofilo led before the furlong marker; Holy Roman Emperor, after some traffic problems, joined battle and poked his nose in front. But Teofilo packs some punch and landed the knockout blow to prevail by a head in the final stride. The pair were two an a half-lengths clear of the highly regarded Strategic Prince.

Bolger and Aidan O'Brien, Holy Roman Emperor's trainer, walked out together to welcome the protagonists, vying for favouritsim for next year's 2,000 Guineas. "Game still on," said O'Brien, with a twinkle in his eye. For Teofilo, the Triple Crown has been mooted. "I hope he'll come back for the Guineas," said Bolger, "But you won't see the true horse until he goes over a mile and a half. He's improving all the time; he eats, sleeps and majors in temperament, he just doesn't do worry." Finsceal Beo, carrying her Group 1 penalty for winning the Prix Marcel Boussac, ran right away from her rivals in the Rockfel Stakes and, all being well, will be back for the 1,000 Guineas in the spring.

Earlier, Jamie Spencer completed the Autumn Double, adding the Cesarewitch on favourite Detroit City to his Cambridegshire on Formal Decree.


Best shortshot
Giveusaclue (Carlisle, 5.15) can build on his first, apprentice-ridden, appearance and cap a good day for his in-form yard.

Best longshot
Stoutly bred Ambition Royal (Carlisle, 4.40) will strip fitter after his recent seasonal debut, and the marked step up in trip should help.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific