Pedigree Watch – French Classics – More Upsets

Tara Madgwick - Monday May 13

In a Euro classic season where nothing is turning out as planned there were more upsets overnight at Longchamp with the running of the French Guineas races and again the favourites never got a look in.

The Group I Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1600m) for the colts saw the Aidan O’Brien trained unbeaten Dubawi colt Henry Longfellow sent off as favourite but he could finish only eighth of 13 with victory going to Zarak colt Metropolitan.

Trained by Mario Baratti and ridden by Alex Puchin, Metropolitan won his only two starts last year and resumed with a fifth in a Group III race last month, improving sharply to score a half length win on a track that received a dumping of rain through a storm just before they jumped.



"He is a magnificent-looking horse and I think he will continue to get better with age," said Baratti. "Being drawn in stall one was a gift from above. I don’t really want to stretch him out, and although he’s not entered in the St James’s Palace, we could look at supplementing him."

Purchased for €78,000 from the Arqana Deauville October Yearling Sale, Metropolitan is the second winner from Alianza, an unraced Halling mare from the family of Group winners Tiger Ride and Warm Heart.

He is the 19th stakes-winner for Dubawi’s French bred Group I winning son Zarak and is his third Group I winner. Zarak is a young sire on the up running at 10.3% SW to runner and he stands at Haras de Bonneval at a fee of €60,000.


The Group I Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (1600m) for the fillies was won by an Aga Khan homebred Lope de Vega filly in Rouhiya, who was having her first try in a Black Type race.

Trained by Francis-Henri Graffard and ridden by Maxime Guyan, she had a win and a placing last season and was third when making her seasonal return at Longchamp last month, she rose to the challenge of this tougher assignment. With the Sangster family colours on Kathmandu (Showcasing)  looking certain for victory, Rouhiya dived through late between runners to snatch a narrow victory.


“We weren't well drawn, but Maxime got a good position very easily and latched onto the back of the Godolphin horse (Romantic Style), and then I thought we had an obvious chance. I thought coming in we were in business, Maxime waited a while but Rouhiya really picked up well. The ground made a huge difference and she had come on loads for her prep run,” Graffard said.

Rouhiya is the second winner from stakes-placed Raven’s Pass mare Rondonia, a half-sister to Group II winner Raydara from stakes-winner Raydiya.

She is the 128th stakes-winner for Lope de Vega and is his 20th Group I winner. Lope de Vega stands at Ballylinch Stud at a fee of €125,000 and did shuttle to Australia in the early years of his career for Patinack Farm. He runs at 10.1% SW to runner.



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