French-trained filly Miss France
, showing marked improvement from her prep race last month, held off fast-finishing Lightning Thunder
to narrowly win the QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) May 4 at Newmarket.
Ridden by Maxime Guyon, the Dansili
filly scored by a neck from familiar rival Lightning Thunder, with Ihtimal
a half-length back in third. Her victory was the first in the race for multiple champion French trainer Andre Fabre.
Guyon had Miss France forwardly placed as 100-1 shot and fourth-place finisher Manderley set a steady tempo to the final furlong, where Guyon gave his filly the cue. United Arab Oaks (UAE-II) winner Ihtimal, with Silvestre De Sousa aboard, was the first to challenge the winner, who had to call upon all her reserves when Lightning Thunder and Harry Bentley roared up from the stands' side.
The winner and runner-up also finished one-two in the Oh So Sharp Stakes (Eng-III) last September at Newmarket, the final season appearance for Miss France, who prevailed by a head. She began 2014 with a lackluster sixth-place finish in the Prix Imprudence (Fr-III) April 3 at Maisons-Laffitte but rebounded with aplomb in the Guineas.
"The plan was to be at the back but she jumped really good, she relaxed really well and showed a good turn of foot," Guyon told England's Press Association after the Guineas. "She felt like a different filly from the Imprudence, but there was no pace in that race. She's a very, very good filly, and maybe is the best at the moment."
Miss France was timed in 1:37.40 for the straight mile on the Rowley Course, delivering a breakthrough in the filly classic to Fabre at 7-1 odds.
"This means a lot," Fabre told England's Press Association after the race. "I trained the dam of the filly and I could not be more delighted. It was not the way I wanted her ridden, but it worked. She will get further, that is not a problem. She'll go for the Prix de Diane (Fr-I, French Oaks) next; her dam won over a mile and a half."
Miss France, a homebred of Diane Wildenstein campaigned under her Ballymore Thoroughbred banner, was bred in Ireland. She is out of 1995 Prix Marcel Boussac-Criterium des Pouliches (Fr-I) winner Miss Tahiti, a daughter of Tirol who was runner-up in the 1996 French Oaks. Sire Dansili, an 18-year-old son of Danehill, stands for Juddmonte at Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket.
"I got confident in the last 10 days after her bad (seasonal) debut," Fabre said. "She worked brilliantly (and) after that I told the owner we'd go to Newmarket. There was a question mark after her first run this year, but I knew that race wasn't to be believed.
"I was a bit perturbed when she hit the front so early as she idles. I think the best filly I've ever trained was (dual French classic winner) Golden Lilac
; she was an explosive filly. This filly is now more relaxed. It wasn't bothering me that I hadn't won this race, otherwise I'd have tried many times before."
Trainer Aidan O'Brien's 4-1 favorite Tapestry
, by Galileo
out of European champion Rumplestiltskin
, was virtually pulled up by Joseph O'Brien, finishing last of 17 runners.
, to whom Tapestry finished second in the 2013 Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I), checked in seventh at 9-2 odds, bettered by longshot stablemate Manderley. Both are trained by Richard Hannon Jr., who won the colt's equivalent, the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) the day before with Night of Thunder
, second in the Prix Imprudence after winning the Cheveley Park Stakes (Eng-I) last year, was eighth.