The Fugue sounds out Arc de Triomphe chance


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The Independent Online

Trips to Paris and California are on the agenda for The Fugue after she bounced back to her brilliant best in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York today.

Beaten just a neck by Shareta in monsoon-like conditions a year ago, John Gosden's four-year-old made a most encouraging seasonal return when third in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. She blotted her copybook for the first time when finishing last of seven runners in Sandown's Coral-Eclipse, but with a dirty scope a viable excuse, she was a 2-1 favourite to get back on the winning trail on the Knavesmire.

With Scintillula having set a fierce pace, William Buick appeared keen to play his cards late on the market-leader, but she ranged up menacingly in the straight. Smart three-year-old Venus De Milo did her best to fend off her older rival, but was simply not in the same league as The Fugue breezed clear in the sunshine for an emphatic four-length win.

"Due to the way the weather was in the spring it took her a long time to come to herself this year, but we were very happy with her run at Royal Ascot," Gosden said. "I thought she would trouble the colts in the Eclipse and I was devastated afterwards. She was very ill for 10 days."

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is now firmly in Gosden's sights, as is a trip to the Breeders' Cup. The Fugue finished a luckless third at Santa Anita in last November's Filly & Mare Turf over the turning mile and a quarter, and this year could take on rivals over a mile and half in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

"The Vermeille would come into consideration for her next run and after that there is the Arc and I do think she is that level," Gosden said.

"If the ground is good or faster, or even good to soft, that would be a strong possibility, but she hates bottomless ground.

"She went to the Breeders' Cup last year and didn't have much luck, but we'd be keen to go back.

"There is the Filly & Mare, but the mile-and-a-half race [Breeders' Cup Turf] could be more suitable for her."

Lucky Kristale further enhanced her growing reputation by giving weight and a beating to some talented fillies in the Connolly's Red Mills Lowther Stakes.

A surprise winner of the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket, George Margarson's stable star was a 5-2 joint-favourite and showed thrilling acceleration under Tom Queally to beat Queen Catrine by a length and a half. Margarson said: "We'll go straight to the Cheveley Park with her and worry about next year after that."