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France: Anabaa Blue shows his true colours with Grand Prix win.

Byline: Desmond Stoneham

TRAINER Carlos Lerner had to wait an agonising 20 minutes before Anabaa Blue was confirmed the winner of the Grand Prix de Chantilly, writes Desmond Stoneham.

Last year's Prix du Jockey-Club winner took the lead at the furlong marker and ran on for a length-and-a-half defeat of St Expedit and Ange Gabriel, who dead-heated for second.

But the stewards held an inquiry after an objection by Thierry Jarnet, the rider of Ange Gabriel. He claimed his ground had been taken by Christophe Soumillon on the winner at around the two-furlong marker.

But the patrol film showed that, if anything, Ange Gabriel had moved across into the path of Anabaa Blue.

Darryll Holland gave the Geoff Wragg-trained St Expedit every chance, but the five-year-old lacked the pace to go with the winner in the final stages of the Group 2 event. The favourite, Califet, finished fourth.

Anabaa Blue was winning for the first time since last year's Classic over this course and distance. According to Lerner, the colt might still not be at his peak. He said: "I didn't have him 100 per cent for this race. I put a cross noseband on him and he relaxed much more during the race."

Anabaa Blue could finish only seventh to Galileo in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last year, and Lerner added: "I'm not sure yet whether he will be entered in the King George this week.

"His next target is the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, and he just loves Chantilly."

Soumillon said: "The horse is back to his form of last year and I still had something in the tank. He relaxed so well and didn't have a hard race."


Anabaa Blue bounces back to his best with a decisive win in the Grand Prix de Chantilly
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 10, 2002
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