Mickael Dezangles added yet another classic success to his collection as the 13/1-shot Flotilla came steaming through to land the coveted French 1000 Guineas, the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp and is now expected to take her chance at Royal Ascot next month in the prestigious Coronation Stakes.
A proven top-grade performer last term as a two-year-old when giving Dezangles his first success in the Breeders’ Cup with an impressive win at Santa Anita last November in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf, Flotilla was surprisingly overlooked by most punters for the French classic – possibly as a result of not having been in action since her famous win in the US – and was sent off at 13/1.
Betting for the 20-runner contest centred around the strongly fancied Andre Fabre-trained Esoterique, who started a hot 2/1 favourite – according to the Betfair horse racing tips – to maintain her unbeaten record.
But, in the end, Esoterique had to give best to Flotilla, who came with a tremendous late surge inside the final furlong of the mile contest to lead close home and beat the favourite by a neck, the pair coming four lengths clear of Tasaday, also trained by Andre Fabre.
Christophe Lemaire was landing the French classic race for the third time in the last eight years – having previously scored with Elusive Wave in 2009 and Divine Proportions in 2005 – and is likely to once again be on board the daughter of Mizzen Mast in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
That race could well see the star French filly meeting Richard Hannon’s Sky Lantern, recent game winner of the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. The clash between the two star three-year-old fillies may well prove to be one of the highlights of the forthcoming royal fixture that begins on June 18.