Nahrain Nips Announce in Opera Thriller

Nahrain held off Announce by a nose to win the Qatar Prix de l'Opera (Fr-I) Oct. 2.

Nahrain edged Announce by a nose in a thrilling renewal of the $475,888 Qatar Prix de l’Opera (Fr-I) at Longchamp Oct. 2. The victory earned the filly an automatic berth in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs Nov. 4, since it is part of the "Win & You're In" series sponsored by the Breeders' Cup.

The 3-year-old daughter of Selkirk was making just her fourth career start for trainer Roger Varian, who notched the first group I win of his career since taking over the license of the late Michael Jarvis.

A field of 10 fillies and mares went to the post in the Opera, with Darley Prix Jean Romanet (Fr-I) winner, Announce, going off as the slight 2-1 favorite. The field broke cleanly as longshot Shamardanse went to the front to set the pace. She was followed closely by Banimpire, with Announce and Nahrain just behind them.

Inside the final two furlongs, Banimpire took command under Kevin Manning. Nahrain was stuck behind a wall of horses along the rail, as jockey Frankie Dettori desperately searched for a seam to slip through.

With just a furlong to go, that seam opened and Nahrain shot through to take the lead. Announce was charging on the outside and quickly pulled alongside Nahrain, and the two daughters of Selkirk battled it out to the wire.

It took a photo finish to separate the two fillies, with Nahrain coming out on top by a nose. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Banimpire in third.

Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:02.74 over the good turf course.

Nahrain was bred in England by Darley, and races for Sheikh Ahmed al Maktoum. She is out of the Generous mare, Bahr, who won the Ribblesdale Stakes (Eng-II) and was third in the Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) as a 3-year-old.

Dabirsim Rockets to Victory in Lagardere

Heavily-favored Dabirsim shot through an opening on the rail as he zipped from last to first to win the $475,888 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere-Grand Criterium (Fr-I) at Longchamp Oct. 2.

Breaking poorly under Frankie Dettori, the son of Hat Trick was held up in last as longshot Salure shot to the front and opened up a five-length lead. As the field entered the final furlong, Salure continued to cling to the lead as the rest of the field closed in.

Dabirsim was stuck behind a wall of horses, finally finding room in the final yards to shoot past the longtime leader to win by three-quarters of a length. Sofast, who came flying late, just nipped Salure by a head for second.

Final time for the seven furlongs was 1:19.85.

Dabirsim’s victory was the 500th win in a group/graded race for jockey Frankie Dettori, who rode the colt for trainer Christophe Ferland. The bay juvenile, who also boasts a victory in the Darley Prix Morny (Fr-I), remains undefeated in five starts for owner Simon Springer.

Dabirsim was bred in France by Mrs. L. Monfort, and is out of the Royal Academy mare, Rumored. He is a half-brother to the multiple stakes winner, Preferred Yield (by High Yield).

Elusive Kate Rolls in Marcel Boussac

Elusive Kate took the lead at the start and never looked back, drawing off to win the $407,904 Total Prix Marcel Boussac-Criterium Des Pouliches (Fr-I) at Longchamp Oct. 2 by three lengths.

It was the fourth consecutive victory for the daughter of Elusive Quality, who previously won the Prix Du Calvados (Fr-III) on Aug 20. Elusive Kate was ridden by William Buick for trainer John Gosden, who notched his third win in this prestigious event.

A compact field of five went to the post in the Boussac, with Zantenda sent off as the 4-5 favorite. Elusive Kate broke sharply and was sent straight to the front by Buick. They were tracked by Fire Lily and Yellow Rosebud, as Olivier Peslier had a relaxed Zantenda rated in fourth. Falls of Lora trailed the field after breaking poorly.

With just under two furlongs left in the race, Peslier moved Zantenda up along the rail to challenge for the lead. Elusive Kate responded, spurting ahead but drifting to her left, out toward the center of the course.

Buick eventually got his filly on a straight path and the pair rolled on to an easy win. Fire Lily got up for second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Zantenda.

Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:38.10.

Elusive Kate is owned in partnership by Gosden’s wife, Rachel Hood, and Magnolia Racing, which is owned by Robert and Janice McNair. After the race, Hood told reporters, “She’s a beautiful filly and I’m only sorry that our partners from America couldn’t be here.”

Regarding the filly’s future plans, Gosden said, “She likes coming to France, so we’ll come back here for the Guineas (Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, Fr-I) and she may go to Churchill for the Breeders’ Cup.”

Elusive Kate was bred in Kentucky by Clovelly Farms, and was sold to Blandford Bloodstock for $70,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Elusive Kate is out of the winning Lemon Drop Kid  mare, Gout de Terroir, who is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner, Pleasantly Perfect.

Tangerine Trees Hangs on in Prix de l’Abbaye

Tangerine Trees led home a trio of longshots when he upset the $407,904 Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye (Fr-I) at Longchamp Oct. 2.

The Bryan Smart-trained gelding, a 6-year-old by Mind Games, took the lead early and just enough left in the tank to hold off the late challenge of Secret Asset (38-1) to win by a short neck.

Tom Eaves rode Tangerine Trees, who was dismissed by the bettors and sent off at odds of 14-1. Sole Power, who finished a nose back in third, completed the parade of longshots at odds of 13-1.

Favored Prohibit was never a factor and finished seventh.

Final time for the five furlongs was a swift :0055.53 seconds.

Tangerine Trees was bred in England by Mrs. Barry Matthews and races for the Tangerine Trees Partnership. He is out of the unraced Cozzene mare, Easy to Imagine.

Kasbah Bliss Scores in Cadran

Kasbah Bliss stormed from last to first to win the $339,920 Qatar Prix du Cadran (Fr-I) at Longchamp Oct. 2.

The 9-year-old gelding by Kahyasi, ridden by Gerald Mosse, notched his first victory in the race, after having finished second in 2009 and third in 2010. Francois Doumen trains the gelding for owner Henri De Pracomtal.

It was the first group I victory for Kasbah Bliss, who is also a stakes-winning hurdler. The bay gelding most recently had finished third to Jukebox Jury in the Darley Prix Kergorlay (Fr-II), which was his last start prior to the Cadran.

Tres Rock Danon broke the sharpest and took the field of 10 along at a leisurely pace through the early stages of the 2 1/2 mile marathon. Mosse was content to let Kasbah Bliss settle at the rear of the field early.

At the halfway point, Kieren Fallon took the initiative and moved Elyaadi to the front, opening up a short lead as the pace quickened. Mosse began to go to work aboard Kasbah Bliss, and the old warrior began to make up ground, weaving his way through the field to take command with a furlong to run.

Kasbah Bliss continued running strongly through the final furlong, drawing off to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Tres Rock Danon. Ley Hunter and Brigantin finished in a dead-heat for third.

Final time for the 20 furlongs was 4:30.52.

Kasbah Bliss was bred in France by his owner. He is out of Marital Bliss, by Double Bed.