Prix de l’Opera Longines (Group 1)
THE rest of the ParisLongchamp card couldn’t possibly live up to the Arc and its post-race festivities – but it tried its best. The Prix de l’Opera Longines always looked likely to be a tactical affair, with so many of its leading candidates drawn high, and Hollie Doyle’s hand was forced on the favourite Nashwa – little option but to use up some petrol early to try to get into a prominent position without being forced to race wide.
She pulled this off in masterful fashion, getting over to the rail before the halfway point had been reached, then slowed the pace up before pressing the accelerator on the home turn.
Nashwa seemed to have the race at her mercy when two lengths clear inside the final furlong, but the last 100 yards proved her undoing as first the 41/1 outsider, Place Du Carrousel, shot past then Joseph O’Brien’s recent Blandford Stakes victor, Above The Curve, got to within a short-head of depriving her of second place.
The Oaks heroine, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Tuesday, suffered a similar fate to Nashwa, running out of petrol in the closing stages to drop from second to sixth, while the other two Irish hopes, Trevaunance and Insinuendo, came home in eighth and 11th.
The soft ground made all the difference for the André Fabre-trained Place Du Carrousel, a daughter of Lope De Vega who is part-owned and was part-bred by Ballylinch Stud. There was no fluke about this success as she had a little trouble getting a clear run halfway up the straight.
If the front three meet again in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, as connections suggested they might, the placings would not necessarily be reshuffled.
Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines (Group 1)
UNABASHED, having narrowly failed narrowly to pull off front-running tactics on Nashwa, Hollie Doyle was setting the pace again in the next, albeit at a rather quicker tempo and on the sprint course out in the middle of the track aboard The Platinum Queen in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines.
This time she was not for passing, to the elation of a raucous group of British supporters who are part of the winning Middleham Park partnership. Ken Condon’s Moss Tucker fared best of the Irish quartet, finishing fifth.
A daughter of Cotai Glory from Tally-Ho Stud, The Platinum Queen cost 57,000gns at the Newmarket Breeze-Up Sales. She deserved this first two-year-old Abbaye success since 1978 given that she had endured a pair of hard races on her previous starts and had been forced to settle for second place in both, in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes.
Trainer Richard Fahey did not make the trip, but later revealed that he was extremely concerned about her ability to handle testing ground.
He suggested that keeping her on the go and taking in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint was her probable short-term future, reasoning that she may be hard to place next season with a Group 1 penalty.
In truth, the Prix de l’Abbaye is no longer the race it was in the era of Dayjur, Lochsong and Agnes World – Battaash is probably its best winner of the current century and even he suffered plenty of reverses.
Its calibre these days is summed up by the fact that the short-neck runner-up, the former Joseph Murphy handicapper White Lavender, has not previously scored above listed level and that this year’s fourth, Mo Celita, who filled the same position 12 months earlier, had in the meantime failed to score in six attempts, almost exclusively in listed races.