1,000 Guineas: Victories for Miss France and California Chrome take old-timers up to new heights
Sunday 04 May 2014
Youth may have had its day in the 2,000 Guineas, as rookie trainer Richard Hannon Jr captured his first Classic on Saturday with Night Of Thunder, his first runner in such a race. But even though experience was the guiding hand for the rest of the weekend, results at the top still produced breakthroughs.
Here today, Miss France gave André Fabre his first victory in the 1,000 Guineas, completing in the process a full house of English Classics for the Chantilly-based maestro. And perhaps most remarkably of all, 77-year-old Art Sherman became the oldest man to saddle a Kentucky Derby winner when California Chrome – his first runner in America's most famous race – ran out a ready winner.
Miss France had become one of the winter favourites for the filly Guineas after she beat Lightning Thunder over seven furlongs of the Rowley Mile last September.
She fell from grace, though, after flopping first time out this season. But Fabre was not fazed and coaxed the daughter of Dansili back to her best. The very fact of her taking part was a hint to punters and only two were preferred in the market to the 7-1 shot.
"There was a question mark after her first run this year," said Fabre, 68, "but I knew that race wasn't to be believed. Then in the last 10 days I began to get confident after that bad run. She started working brilliantly, and it was what I saw in the morning that told me that we should come here."
To Fabre's consternation, Miss France, ridden by Maxime Guyon, was always close to the pace and went past trailblazing Manderley a furlong out. She had to dig deep to fend off two determined challenges, firstly from Ihtimal and lastly her old rival Lightning Thunder, who went under by just a neck in a driving finish. "It was not the way I wanted her ridden," added Fabre, "exactly the opposite, in fact. But it worked."
It was a first Classic in Britain for Guyon, who had to improvise after his mount left the starting stalls too well. "The plan was to be at the back," he admitted, "but she jumped really good, and I let her run. She relaxed really well and felt like a different filly from last month."
Miss France and Lightning Thunder, who did second-season trainer Olly Stevens proud in the colours of the Qatari sponsors, may clash again in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, but Ihtimal will step up to a mile and a half in the Oaks.
Hannon Jr, who took over the license at his family's Wiltshire stables from his father and namesake only a few months ago, reported Night Of Thunder in good shape after Saturday's victory, and more likely to stick at a mile in the St James's Palace Stakes than go for the Derby.
For Sherman, victory at the highest level has come late, and sweet. Back in 1955, he was an exercise rider on Kentucky Derby winner Swaps, the closest connection he had previously with the hallowed Churchill Downs winners' circle.
California Chrome, the favourite, won easily under Victor Espinoza to provide a fairy-tale success all round; he was bred from a cheap mare by his first-time owners, who go under the acronym DAP: Dumb-Ass Partners.
"This gave me the biggest thrill I've ever had," said Sherman. "It was a picture-perfect ride and coming down the stretch I was just thinking: 'Keep rollin' big boy. Keep rollin'. To be my age and have something like this happen, what can you say?"
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid closing in on Santi Cazorla - reports
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger set to cancel moves for Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in favour of Jack Wilshere - reports
Arturo Vidal: Manchester United bid £39m for Juventus midfielder
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho wants both Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech to stay at Stamford Bridge
Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...