Satamixa blows the British aside

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The Independent Online
Francois Boutin maintained a posthumous hold on the Prix Jacques le Marois here yesterday when Miss Satamixa repelled a field which included four British challengers.

The trainer, who was claimed by cancer in February, established a record nonpareil in the Normandy course's premier mile race, winning the Group One event for six of the last eight years. Even in death, his influence continues as yesterday's victor, who is now under the care of Andre Fabre, was tutored last year, as a two-year-old, by Boutin.

Miss Satamixa carried the most prosaic name and unprepossessing figure into yesterday's encounter. In the parade ring, as Sayyedati's skin gleaned fiercely, Prince Arthur frothed around his snout like a dog to be avoided and Carling showed off a mane which appeared to be blow dried, the grey filly looked as substantial as a springbok (the jumping version rather than the scrummaging variety).

She was glued on to the rail by Sylvain Guillot after the stalls opened and the running was made, predictably enough by Cash Asmussen on Godolphin racing's Tamayaz, who was made favourite, unpredictably, by the holiday crowd. "After looking at the paper it wasn't a great secret that if I wanted a pace I was gonna have to make it myself," the American said. His race report then appeared to rely heavily on the Beaufort Scale for reference. "The horse did a lot of work out there on his own which was difficult as there was a lot of head wind coming off the sea," he said.

"He was finding his feet a little bit, switching legs and looking to get a comfortable position, so he was better with the rail to run against. I would like to have stayed a couple off the running rail and make everyone else find their own leader and break the wind themselves. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw him over a mile and two next time."

While Asmussen, who eventually finished fourth, was dealing with his wind problems, Brett Doyle, on Sayyedati, the 1993 winner, had a conundrum of his own. The young jockey, having his first ride in France, had been told to keep the mare out of trouble at the back, but the evolution of the race meant there was nothing in the corridor in front of him and the pace was insufficient.

"She took me there, not the other way around, and she was on her own a bit too soon," he said. "Ideally we would have got a lead a bit further but they weren't going a strong gallop. It might sound strange but she was travelling too easily if anything."

After hitting the front over a furlong and a half out, Sayyadati's run became characterised by much lateral movement. As she staggered (more out of boredom than lethargy), Miss Satamixa crept past on her inside for a length victory. Shaanxi was back in third with Prince Arthur 6th and Nicolotte 7th.

The winner was sent off at over 20-1 on the Pari-Mutuel as her previous victory, albeit a flamboyant one, had been in listed company at Maisons- Laffitte. This appeared a much better performance, but Fabre would have none of that suggestion. "She's not improving" he said "It's in the form book, if you look". Miss Satamixa is unlikely to frighten British trainers by running in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot as she prefers a straighter course. Longchamp's Prix du Moulin fits the requirements better.


Prix Jacques le Marois (Group 1) 1m

1. MISS SATAMIXA grey filly Linamix - Miss Satin S Guillot

2. Sayyedati B Doyle

3. Shaanxi D Boeuf

Also: Tamayaz (4th), Green Tune (5th), Prince Arthur (6th), Nicolotte (7th), Smolensk (8th), Carling (9th).

9 ran. 1, 11/2. (Trained by A Fabre for J L Lagardere). Pari-Mutuel: 22.70; 4.60 1.80 3.30 DF 72.60.