ANDRE Fabre has been a force to be reckoned with on his visits across the Channel for over two decades and finally completed a full set of British Classics through the appropriately-named Miss France in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
A 100 per cent record with runners on the Rowley Mile from the last two seasons had already been maintained through Esoterique in the Qatar Bloodstock Dahlia Stakes, while the French trainer’s big-race heroine won on the course during the autumn.
Miss France (7-1) had narrowly beaten Lightning Thunder in that Oh So Sharp Stakes back in September and it was the same filly, a dream first Classic runner for young Olly Stevens, who pushed her hardest again as she charged home just a neck in arrears.
Fabre has claimed seven Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes, a Derby, a Breeders’ Cup Classic and a cupboard full of champion trainer titles, and responded with typically Gallic insouciance when asked if the success was of personal importance.
“It wasn’t bothering me that I hadn’t won this race, otherwise I’d have tried many times before,” he said. “I was waiting for the right filly and a sunny day, which you don’t get in Newmarket.
“This means a lot, I trained the dam of the filly and I could not be more delighted.”
Miss France had been such a disappointing sixth on her return to action in the Prix Imprudence at Maisons-Laffitte that she was even removed from the betting for the Classic by some bookmakers at that point.
But after a reportedly sparkling piece of work, she was the filly of old and jockey Maxime Guyon sat just behind the 100-1 chance Manderley, who ended up fourth.
Satisfyingly, the field had not split as it did in Saturday’s 2000 Guineas, with Guyon pushing the button with a furlong to go and receiving due response.
Lightning Thunder was produced fairly late and down the stands side, and although she was gaining for Harry Bentley at the line, there was to be no getting past Miss France.
The 25-year-old Guyon was winning his first British Classic. He said: “She relaxed really well and showed a good turn of foot. I think she is the best filly in Europe at the moment.”
Ihtimal was third, but the big disappointment was the well-backed 4-1 favourite Tapestry, who was last.