Head-Maarek Wins Fifth Foret with Etoile Montante

Khalid Abdullah's Etoile Montante gave trainer Criquette Head-Maarek her fifth victory in the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I) at Longchamp Sunday.

Ridden by Olivier Peslier, Etoile Montante cut down Royal Millennium in the final 100 yards. The 3-year-old Miswaki filly pulled away for a 1 1/2-length triumph in the seven-furlong feature. Saratan was third, three lengths behind the winner, but three quarters of a length in front of Intercontinental.

Juddmonte Farms bred Etoile Montante, who was produced by the Nureyev mare Willstar, in Kentucky.

She had placed in three group I races this year.

"She's formidable and tough and won like a really good filly," Head-Maarek told the Racing Post. "Etoile Montante has always done everything asked of her. It's difficult to reproach her in any way. There are no plans for the moment but I'd very much like to keep her in training as a four-year-old."

Etoile Montante was settled behind pacesetting Mount Abu and Intercontinental and Richard Hughes. In the straight, Ted Durcan ranged into contention with Royal Millennium on the outside as Mount Abu began to tire. Peslier avoided being trapped along the inside and waited for room before shooting free in the center of the course and fighting her way past Royal Millennium.

Ten competed, and the final time was 1:22.6 on very soft going.

Peslier had five winners on the Longchamp card. "She's always thereabouts and is very courageous. I anticipated a tricky situation around two out so was able to take the necessary action."