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Giofra lands the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes for France

13 Jul 2012

Giofra came with a fine late run to collar Elusive Kate and win this afternoon's Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes, in process just denying trainer John Gosden another big race victory.

Giofra (nearside) comes to overhaul Elusive Kate and win the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

As anticipated by many, today’s Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket went to France, but it was not courtesy of the filly that most had expected to win, the hot favourite Golden Lilac.

Instead it was Giofra, trained by Alain De Royer Dupre, who put up a fine performance to get on top close home in the fourth Fillies & Mares race in the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Held up behind the leaders in a slowly run race, it was only well inside the final furlong that Giofra got her head in front in the hands of Christophe Soumillon to master the Frankie Dettori-ridden Elusive Kate and win by half a length.

For a while it had seemed that Elusive Kate, Europe’s joint champion juvenile filly last year, was going to “do another Nathaniel” for trainer of the moment, John Gosden, and win a Group 1 race on her first start of the season.

Frankie sent her on with two furlongs to run and though she ultimately could not hold the sustained challenge of Giofra, it was a tremendous performance first time out on ground that she probably did not appreciate.

The third French challenger, the Francois Doumen-trained Siyouma, stayed on really well to finish three-quarters of a length further back in third, well clear of the fourth horse, Irish History, with Maybe just behind her in fifth.

The huge disappointment of the race was Golden Lilac who found nothing at all when asked to quicken two furlongs out. Her trainer, Andre Fabre, blamed the soft ground.

The winning handler said of Giofra: "She had two very good races at Longchamp this year and I was very confident.

"I was afraid of Golden Lilac, but today she didn’t run her race.

"She is a very good filly. She had a slight problem at the beginning of the season as a three year but she has come to the fore now and is a new filly.

"The Nassau Stakes at Goodwood is possible and after that maybe the Prix de l’Opera or the Arc, she is engaged in both."