Racing: Lochsong in control as emotions flow: A rapturous reception for the mare who displayed composure before bursting clear to confirm herself a sovereign among sprinters

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The Independent Online
LOCHSONG returned to her best in a victory for charisma in the Prix de l'Abbaye here yesterday. The mare has attracted more supporters to racing than any other Flat horse in recent years and she has been partnered in most of her races by the biggest draw in the jockeys' room, Lanfranco Dettori. Both were thunderously received yesterday.

Lochsong has been out of sorts spectacularly on two occasions this season, blowing her chances with explosive sprints to the start. 'It's not her fault,' Jeff Smith, the mare's owner, said, 'she doesn't know whether she's got to run down to the stalls or back from them.'

After two weeks out at grass, the recent signs were that the six-year-old was back, exhibiting much relish in her work. Of as much significance was the decision to allow her just one revolution of the Longchamp parade ring and a leisurely walk to post.

'After what happened at York and Newmarket I was a little bit edgy trying to get her to the start,' Detttori reported. 'But she just had a little jog behind the stalls and then she was ready.'

A minute later, Lochsong was well clear of her field and back on the throne. Dettori returned to pick up a trophy which was similar to the silver tray an aunt might place scones on, but when he showed it to the crowd the reaction was as if it was the Holy Grail above his head. 'That was the ultimate feeling,' the jockey said.

Ian Balding, Lochsong's trainer, was an emotional jelly amid all this. 'I was very worried that temperamentally she might have gone,' he said falteringly. 'There's never been one quite like her.' The Kingsclere trainer will have to hold himself together for just one more race this season, the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs.

Earlier, George Duffield had won the Prix du Rond-Point on the Chris Wall-trained Missed Flight, a deserved victory for the jockey on the second anniversary of his Arc defeat on User Friendly. The Prix de l'Opera went to Roger Charlton and Pat Eddery through Andromaque after Yutaka Take's mount, Erin Bird, was disqualified.