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James Fanshawe's Audarya springs Romanet surprise at Deauville

Sun 23 Aug 2020

James Fanshawe’s Audarya caused a huge shock in the Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville.

While Newmarket-based Fanshawe had won the race twice recently with Ribbons (2014) and Speedy Boarding (2016), Audarya looked to have plenty to find with the main protagonists.

Ridden by Ioritz Mendizabal, she travelled sweetly into contention before hitting the front a furlong out in the mile-and-a-quarter heat.

Close home it only concerned two fillies with Ambition the only serious rival to Audarya, but Mendizabal only needed to give his mount a couple of flicks with the whip to keep her up to her work and she responded willingly, with the pair coming well clear.

 Audarya surges ahead (Focusonracing
Audarya surges ahead (Focusonracing

John Gosden’s Nazeef, winner of the Falmouth Stakes and the mount of Frankie Dettori, was well fancied, but she failed to shine on testing ground and was well beaten.

Audarya was last seen winning a handicap on the all-weather at Newcastle, triumphing off a mark of 99.

Mendizabal told Sky Sports Racing: “Before the race I spoke to the trainer and he asked me to get a good position, but more importantly to get her to relax.

“He said if she didn’t relax she wouldn’t finish, as it was a very good race. She won easy. The trainer wasn’t sure about the ground, he felt she’d prefer good ground so I’m not sure how she won like that.

“It’s a nice story that Francois Doumen bred her, as I know him very well.”

Later on the card, Freddy Head ended a barren spell when Call The Wind proved his class in the Darley Prix Kergorlay at Deauville.

Head’s last winner came in June, but he has always been able to rely on his stable stalwart.

The well-travelled six-year-old, was a Group One winner in 2018 when he took the Prix du Cadran and finished second in the same race last year, as well as in the Prix Royal-Oak.

Those same races will be on his agenda again after a comfortable success under regular rider Olivier Peslier, coming home a length and a half clear of Ashrun.

Ed Dunlop’s Red Verdon was a late withdrawal due to an issue in the stalls.

Head told Sky Sports Racing: “He’s always there and does his best, usually first or second, he goes everywhere, Riyadh, Dubai – he’s lovely.

“He almost cut his tendon in his last race, but he’s OK now and I’m very happy with how he won today.

“I think he’ll go to the Cadran now on Arc weekend. He loves the soft, but won on good ground in Riyadh.”

The Darley Prix de Pomone went the way of Alain de Royer-Dupre’s Ebaiyra.

A winner over a mile and a half before finishing sixth in the Prix de Diane, she relished going back up in trip.

With a 9lb weight-for-age allowance, Christophe Soumillon set out to make all and Ebaiyra set a sedate pace before quickening stylishly in the straight.

Brian Meehan’s Spirit Of Appin ran a fine race to finish second.

De Royer-Dupre, who has abandoned plans to quit at the end of the season, said: “I decided to carry on about a month ago for variety of reasons, partly due to Covid because we didn’t get a full season and it is difficult to stop quickly when you have done something for 45 years or more – it will be a new life.

“I have many options, I’m very excited about showjumping and things like that.

“It was difficult for her because she’s a big filly and Deauville is a small track. She stayed very well.

“The next step could be the Prix Vermeille, but we have another filly for that too, Vardani. She ran last week but hated the ground.”

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