Zarkava Produces a Vermeille Zinger

Undefeated Zarkava gave the Qatar Prix Vermeille (Fr-I) field a good head start and still ran off with a two-length victory for her sixth consecutive win Sept. 14 at Longchamp.

The exceptional 3-year-old filly was already the favorite Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) Oct. 5. She did nothing to tarnish her reputation after giving her rivals a six-length start leaving the stalls in the 1 1/2-mile event for fillies and mares and lagging four lengths last after the first furlong. With ease, Christophe Soumillon was able to move the Aga Khan filly to the far outside for her unimpeded rally over the final quarter mile. They grabbed the lead with 60 yards to go and won going away over Dar Re Mi.

Asked afterward if he was concerned at all, Soumillon merely shrugged. "I never worry when I ride a filly like that," he told Racing Post. "I knew I was on the best filly in the race."

Winning trainer Alain de Royer Dupre added, "You are always worried when a horse starts like that but she was very relaxed today," he said.

This was Zarkava's first attempt at 1 1/2 miles and her initial try against older fillies and mares. She won both the French One Thousand Guineas (Fr-I) and the French Oaks (Fr-I) this spring.

Adored, one three saddled by Aidan O'Brien's for the Vermeille, set out quickly to lead them and was still six lengths clear in the straight as Zarkava continued to trail. But she tired quickly in the last 200 yards as Dar Re Mi hit the front only to be swallowed up seconds later by the refreshed Zarkava. Dar Re Mi edged Treat Gently for second, with Michita, a daughter of Dynaformer bred by Stonerside Stable, finishing fourth.

The final time, 2:26 over good going, was a stakes record.

In three weeks time, the The daughter of Zamindar is expected to attempt to become the first filly since Urban Sea in 1993 to triumph in the Arc.

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