Ecurie Wildenstein's tenacious Irish invader Bright Sky got the lead from favored Six Perfections close to home and held on for a neck victory in the Prix d'Astarte (Fr-II) for fillies and mares Sunday at Deauville.
Six Perfections and rider Thierry Thulliez appeared to have the one-mile straight safely tucked away, but the English and Irish 1000 Guineas runner-up was once again defeated in the final furlong. Bright Sky, a 4-year-old daughter of Wolfhound, was making her first start since May when second to Falbrav in the Prix d'Ispahan.
After racing in mid-pack on the rail in the 12-horse field, jockey Dominique Boeuf pushed the chestnut filly into contention less than two furlongs from home, made headway into the final turn and collared Six Perfections while under heavy pressure in the final 50 yards.
Six Pefections tracked the leaders while on the outside and was shaken up by Thulliez to take the lead with a furlong left. Italian filly Marbye was 1 1/4 length behind in third after being held up in the rear on rail through the opening four furlongs, making up plenty of ground in the latter stages while keeping off any late challenge.
It was Bright Sky's first try at a mile in nearly two years for trainer Elie Lellouche. Bright Sky had previously won the Prix de Diane Hermes and the Prix de l'Opera. She was third behind Pearly Shells in the Prix Vermeille.
The time was 1:37.4 on good to soft footing, which is the sort of going Bright Sky prefers.
"We will see how she comes out of this race and it has always been planned for her to have an autumn campaign," Lellouche told The Racing Post
. "We could take in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. She does have a preference for soft ground."
"She took time to accelerate and I was worried that we had missed the boat when Six Perefections took a length or two off us one out," Boeuf said.
Six Perfections had legitimate excuses in her earlier races, but did not encounter traffic problems Sunday. Trainer Pascal Bary said the Niarchos Family homebred Six Perfections hit the front too early.