The Aga Khan’s Sagawara confirmed her classic credentials with a hard-fought neck victory over Rjwa to win the Montjeu Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary (Fr-I) at Longchamp May 27.
Alain de Royer-Dupre trains the gray daughter of Shamardal who notched her first group I victory. Sagawara now sports two wins and two seconds from four career starts.
Ridden confidently by Christophe Lemaire, Sagawara raced in second as outsider Hasna set the pace. Forces of Darkness ran in third as favorite La Peinture was held up in last.
Hasna continued to set the pace throughout much of the race. With two furlongs left to run, Lemaire moved Sagawara up to challenge Hasna for the lead. Sagawara eased past Hasna to take command with a little over a furlong left, then had just enough in the tank to hold off the late charges of Rjwa, Forces of Darkness, and La Peinture for the victory in a blanket finish.
At the wire it was Sagawara narrowly over Rjwa, who in turn was a neck in front of Forces of Darkness. La Peinture was just another half-length back in fourth.
Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:04.37 over a good turf course.
Sagawara may now try to emulate Sarafina, who captured the Prix Saint-Alary two years ago before going on to win the Prix de Diane (Fr-I) for the same connections.
Sagawara was bred in England by her owner. She is out of the Linamix mare Sagalina, a full sister to champion Sagamix.