Avenir Certain Cruises to French Oaks Win
Unbeaten Avenir Certain added a second classic win to her record when she captured the Prix de Diane Longines (Fr-I, French Oaks) June 15 at Chantilly.
Prevailing in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I, French One Thousand Guineas) May 11 at Longchamp after claims of interference, the daughter of Le Havre had running room down the center of the track in the French Oaks and won by one length from longshot Amour a Papa.
French Guineas third-place finisher Xcellence was denied second in the French Oaks by Amour a Papa, who overtook her late. She held on for third, a neck behind, and even-money favorite Shamkala finished a short head back in fourth. QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) winner Miss France checked in fifth in the field of a dozen 3-year-old fillies.
Local Hero took up the early running, with highly regarded entrants Miss France and Shamkala prominent from the outset while Avenir Certain was unhurried early, tracking near the back of the field under Gregory Benoist. As the pace quickened Miss France looked to have nowhere to run and was hampered when Local Hero began to fade. Shamkala had no rally when called upon.
Wide on the outside from a about quarter-mile out, Avenir Certain had clear sailing past rivals and struck the lead with 100 meters to run, proving much the best. Avenir Certain covered 2,100 meters (about 1 5/16 miles) in 2:05.37 on good turf.
Avenir Certain came into the French Oaks having won the French Guineas. Her connections had to wait out a long stewards' inquiry after the claim of interference for her run in early stretch, but officials let the results stand after reviewing the race.
"I could see she was going well turning in and she is just a filly with extra-extra," trainer Jean-Claude Rouget told Racing Post after the French Oaks. "She does it all. I've never seen a race like it, she reminds me of Zarkava."
Zarkava won the 2008 French Oaks for Alain de Royer-Dupre and captured the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) that year to close her career unbeaten in seven starts.
Treve won last year's French Oaks and turned in a stunning performance to win that year's edition of the Arc and cap an unbeaten season. Bookmakers have pegged Avenir Certain at odds as high as 16-1 for Europe's premier middle-distance race, with Treve 7-2 favorite for a repeat win.
Avenir Certain was bred in France by Elisabeth Vidal and is owned by Antonio Caro and Gerard Augustin-Normand. She was produced from the Mark of Esteem mare Puggy, who was group-placed in England and Norway.
Puggy is from the family of German group I winner Warrsan and English and French group winner Blue Monday, who was twice group I-placed in England.
Avenir Certain is from the first crop of 2009 Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I, French Derby) winner Le Harve, an 8-year-old son of Noverre who stands in France at Haras de la Cauviniere. Rouget bought the filly for $58,604 at the 2012 Arqana October yearling sale.
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