Giofra Grinds Out Gritty Falmouth Victory

French raider notches first group I victory with a determined effort at Newmarket.

French raider Giofra overhauled Elusive Kate near the wire to win the $248,000 Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket July 13.

Most racegoers thought a French filly would win the race, with the focus on French classic winner Golden Lilac. The Andre Fabre-trained 4-year-old was a dual classic winner last season, and began this year with a sharp victory over Cirrus des Aigles in the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I). As a result, Golden Lilac was sent off as the favorite in the field of 10.

Giofra was largely overlooked at 10-1 despite the fact the daughter of Dansili had won the Prix d’Harcourt (Fr-II) and was second to Cirrus des Aigles in the Prix Ganay (Fr-I) in April.

Lay Time set a slow pace as Joviality, one of two runners in the field trained by John Gosden, sat just behind her in second. Maxime Guyon had Golden Lilac a few lengths off the leaders on the outside, while Christophe Soumillon had Giofra buried in amongst runners toward the rear.

As the field neared the two-furlong marker, Frankie Dettori, aboard the second Gosden filly, Elusive Kate, asked his filly to quicken and she responded to overtake Lay Time for the lead.

Elusive Kate continued on strongly for Dettori, opening up a slight lead on the field. Soumillon, meanwhile, finally got Giofra into the clear on the outside, and the filly began reeling in Elusive Kate while under a strong drive.

The two fillies matched strides through the final furlong until Giofra edged clear near the wire, crossing the line a half-length in front. Siyouma was third, another three-quarters of a length farther back.

Final time for the mile was 1:42.14 over the soft going.

Winning trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre said after the race that the Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) at Goodwood is possible for Giofra, and after that maybe the Prix de l'Opera (Fr-I) or the Grand Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I).

Giofra was bred in England by her owners, Haras de La Perelle. She is a 4-year-old filly out of the stakes winning Orpen mare Gracefully.