Perennial bridesmaid Duke of Marmalade finally broke through for his first stakes victory, capturing the Prix Ganay (Fr-I) at Longchamp April 27 by a determined half-length over Saddex. The race marked the first group I race of the European flat season.

Even though the 4-year-old son of Danehill was winless in six starts last year, he was a consistent performer, placing in both the St. James’s Palace Stakes (Eng-I) and the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I).  His only win prior to the Prix Ganay was a seven-furlong maiden victory at The Curragh as a 2-year-old.

Riding Duke of Marmalade for the first time, jockey Johnny Murtagh was content to track early leader Spirit One for most of the ten-furlong contest.  Murtagh put his charge under a drive two furlongs out, and Duke of Marmalade responded, taking command with just over a furlong left.

German group I winner Saddex put in a strong challenge within the final furlong, but the Aidan O’Brien trainee had plenty left in the tank, drawing off to win by a comfortable half-length. Sageburg finished third, another two lengths further back.

Time for the extended ten furlongs was 2:08.3 over a soft turf course.

Favored Zambezi Sun, winner of the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I) over this same course last July, never was in contention, finishing last of the six runners.

Trainer O’Brien was pleased with his colt’s effort, telling reporters after the race, “Duke of Marmalade had been working very well at home, and now we have something to really look forward to.” 

He added, “The colt is very versatile and he showed a lot of speed this afternoon. He’s a class act and a strongly run mile will also suit. The plan now is to run him in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I) at The Curragh.”

Duke of Marmalade is owned by Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor, and was bred in Ireland by Southern Bloodstock. He is out of Love Me True, by Kingmambo.

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