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Horse Racing: Finest hour for peerless French filly; The great Arcs 1974 Allez France.

Byline: John Randall

ALLEZ FRANCE, the world's greatest filly or mare of the post-war era, was the darling of Parisian racetracks for four seasons and achieved her apotheosis as a four-year-old in the 1974 Arc - after major scares before and during the race.

The drama began ten days beforehand, when her regular rider, Yves Saint-Martin, broke a small bone in his thigh. He was eventually passed fit to ride, although he cannot have recovered fully, and indeed needed a pain-killing injection half an hour before the start.

In the race the odds-on Allez France saw daylight too soon, approaching the straight, and Saint-Martin could not prevent her bursting clear on the home turn and making herself a target to be shot at. Outsider Comtesse de Loir put in a strong late run and almost drew level but, even with her rider unable to use his whip, Sea-Bird's daughter was holding the other filly close home and gained the verdict by a head.

Allez France never did show her peak form in three Arc appearances, for she had been second to Rheingold in 1973 and was only fifth to Star Appeal as a five-year-old. But at her best she was a filly of sublime brilliance.

1 Allez France 1-2f

2 Comtesse de Loir 53-1

3 Margouillat 72-1

Owner Daniel Wildenstein

Trainer Angel Penna

Jockey Yves Saint-Martin

Distances head, 3/4 l

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Allez France: had enough in hand to hold on from Comtesse de Loir
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 19, 2006
Words:245
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