The European classic season moved from Newmarket's May 6-7 hosting of the English Guineas (both G1) pairings across the Channel to Normandy, where the French version for fillies, the Abu Dhabi Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (G1), was on the May 13 card at Deauville Racecourse while Longchamp, the regular site, is undergoing renovation.
Favored in the field of 18 3-year-old fillies entered in the straight-mile test over Deauville's soft turf was the Niarchos family's Senga, a Kentucky-homebred daughter of Blame who had won the eight-furlong Prix de la Grotte Etalon Kendargent (G3) over firm turf at Chantilly in April. But upstart Precieuse would steal the spotlight.
Waiting to load behind the stalls, the 18 contestants proved an antsy lot, and between the time the first fillies were loaded into the stalls and the opening of the gates, some 4 1/2 minutes transpired.
Following the break, the field divided into two groups in the early running, with Amaani leading the near side group and Charm Appeal the mid-field group. After three furlongs had been run, the groups emerged with Charm Appeal and Amaani maintaining their positions.
Meanwhile, Precieuse, trained by Fabrice Chappet and ridden by Olivier Peslier, who had been well positioned in the near-side group, moved up to challenge as Wajnah and Roly Poly, one-third of the Aidan O' Brien entry, fought for the lead with Via Ravenna.
Quickening in the last 500 meters, Precieuse took the lead and extended her advantage to 1 3/4 lengths at the wire. Sea of Grace and Christophe Soumillon finished second for Sunderland Holdings and trainer William Haggas, with Heuristique closed well for third, a short neck in front of Wajnah. The O'Brien-trained pair of Rain Goddess and Roly Poly were fifth and sixth, respectively.
Time over the very soft turf was 1:37.69.
Brendan and Anne-Marie Hayes' Knocktoran Stud bred and own Precieuse. By Shadwell's group 1-winning stallion Tamayuz (Nayef), Precieuse is a fourth-generation product of the Knocktoran program. Her dam, the group 3 stakes-placed Zut Alors, a daughter of Pivotal, is a half sister to three group stakes winners and is out of Knocktoran-bred Zeiting, a Zieten mare who won stakes in France before coming to trainer Christophe Clement in the U.S. and winning three stakes here for the Hayeses.
Bred for the distance, Precieuse is the first classic winner for Tamayuz, who won the Abu Dhabi Sorouh Prix Jean Prat and the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard-Jacques Le Marois, both group 1 events at a mile, for Shadwell. Precieuse is also inbred 3x4 to France's champion miler of 1980 Nureyev, who is the broodmare sire of Tamayuz and the grandsire of Pivotal.
With England's one-mile guineas in the books, racing in Britain turns toward the middle-distance classics: the Oaks and Derby (both G1). To that end, Lingfield held a pair of classic trials run at about 11 furlongs May 13.
Hertford Dancer, whom John Gosden trains for the 5 Hertford Street Racing Club, took the listed Oaks Trial. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, the chestnut daughter of Foxwedge out of the winning Selkirk mare Tebee won by 1 3/4 lengths in 2:32.07 over the good turf.
Godolphin's Best Solution dominated the Derby Trial Stakes, winning by 3 1/4 lengths in 2:31.84. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Pat Cosgrave, the bay son of Kodiac out of the Kingmambo mare Al Andaliyya was a $144,869 purchase out of the Tattersalls October yearling sale. Cecil and Marin McCracken bred Best Solution in Ireland.