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Bary takes his second chance.

Byline: By Martin Kelly

Pascal Bary made it second time lucky in the 1000 Guineas as Natagora led from the outset to strike a blow for France in the fillies' Classic at Newmarket.

Five years ago, the Chantilly trainer's Six Perfections suffered a nightmare passage in the race before eventually going down by a rapidly diminishing margin to Russian Rhythm.

There were no such hard luck stories yesterday as Christophe Lemaire bounced the grey out of the stalls and made a beeline for the stands rail.

Winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes here last autumn, the well-backed 11-4 favourite strode out majestically in front and responded through the closing stages to collect by half-a-length. Spacious stayed on to be second, with Saoirse Abu third, Infallible fourth and the unlucky-in-running Nahoodh fifth.

"She has done something fantastic. They all came to her, but she ran to the end," said Bary.

"She is a fantastic filly. I have dreamed about this since last October. She is very brave and she moves very well, even when she is in front, she doesn't pull or anything like that."

A winner over five and six furlongs last term, the daughter of Divine Light tackled seven furlongs for the first time when successful in last month's Prix Imprudence and Bary always thought the mile trip would be in her range.

"I was quite confident she would stay a mile after the Prix Imprudence," he said. "We would have preferred to have a couple of horses in front of us, but she has plenty of speed and was able to make the running.

"She is in the Irish Guineas but, with the way she has won today, she may need a bit of time.

"She has done all of the work from the front, so I may look to Royal Ascot with her. She has done everything right, so I don't want to do something wrong. She will tell me when she is ready to race."

Reflecting on his past experience of the race, he added: "Six Perfections was very unlucky but after that she went on to win the Prix Jacques Le Marois and Breeders' Cup so we forgot about the Guineas but this filly is not the same kind as Six Perfections.

"Six Perfections had to wait behind and run a very fast final furlong, but this filly can do it either way and has less chance of being unlucky."

The charismatic Lemaire is no stranger to success on the Rowley Mile with wins in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Champion Stakes also to his name, but he was elated after securing his first English Classic. He said: "She has done it beautifully and has given me my first Classic success in England which is very special.

"I love Newmarket, I have had so many good winners here. Everytime I ride good horses like Pride or Starcraft, things seem to go right.

"On a morning, she is a very relaxed filly, but it is not easy for horses to make the running all of the time.

"Sometimes you like to put them behind horses and find another way of running, but today when we jumped off from the gate we were already in front after 100 metres.

"There was then no way to pull up the filly and get her in behind. At Maisons-Laffitte in the Prix Imprudence, I was lucky as there was a fast horse in front who I was able to follow.

"I got a little bit worried towards the end when I could hear the horses' hooves coming at me, but she battled well."

Meanwhile, Hughes was adamant he would have won on Nahoodh had with Mick Channon's 33-1 chance not been blocked in against the stands rail during the final furlong.

The grey ultimately went down by just over a length and Hughes said: "I was happy with my draw in stall six and I was happy after going a furlong-and-a-half.

"I had a great position at halfway and was travelling well, but just when I was going to move up a place or two at the three-furlong pole, she hit a flat spot. I had to let her come good, although some people may have thought I was cruising.

"She came good again at the two-furlong pole and I wanted her to bring me into the race but all the others came left and into me.

"I then ran into the back of the winner. Nine times out of ten, they would have come off the rail when they heard the crowd and I was banking on them doing that, as I couldn't go round the field. I felt I would have won.

Nahoodh can win at Royal Ascot and make amends."


Christophe Lemaire celebrates victory aboard Natagora, five years after her trainer narrowly missed out in the first fillies' Classic of the season
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 5, 2008
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