The Jim Bolger-trained 3-year-old filly was sent off as the heavy favorite in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I) in what the trainer hoped would be a unique triple -- the British, French and Irish One Thousand Guineas.
Finsceal Beo, ridden by Kevin Manning, always close up in the one-mile event while racing on the inside, got through more than a furlong from home to take the lead. But Christophe Soumillon had Darjina, 11th in the 13-horse field at the head of the straight, poised for a big effort on the outside. They rallied to reach second with a furlong left and Princess Zahra Aga Khan's filly took the lead in the final 50 yards on a course rated good but hit hard by rain just 10 minutes before the start.
The French-bred daughter of Zamindar is undefeated in three starts for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.
"She didn't start too well, so I couldn't be close up early on," Soumillon told Racing Post. "I decided to race on the outside of the others and bring her up the middle of the track."
"That was extraordinary and Darjina was very brave," the princess said in the winner's enclosure. "I thought she was given a brilliant ride."
Royer-Dupre was concerned about the soft ground, telling Racing Post: “She is better on good or firmer. I think Darjina can improve even further and we have several options for the filly. She should stay further so the Prix de Diane (Fr-I) comes into the reckoning -- and of course there is the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot."
The trainer and the Aga Khan family won the Pouliches for the third time.
Finsceal Beo looked like a winner a furlong from the wire, but Manning thought she was hindered by the course condition as well. “The rain came a bit soon and she didn't have her normal zip on the softened ground," he said. "The filly would have normally sorted out the opposition in a matter of strides if the ground had been good.”
If all is well, Bolger said that the runner-up would go on to the Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I).
Two British-trained fillies, Rahiyah (Jeremy Noseda) and Costume (John Gosden) finished third and fourth, respectively. The final time was 1:37.2.
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