05/05/2008 12:00AM

Natagora wins 1000 Guineas


A gritty front-running performance by the Natagora landed her the $739,000 1000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on Sunday, as she held on gamely to defeat Spacious by a half-length. The victory was the first by a French invader in the fillies classic since the Criquette Head-trained Hatoof in 1992.

Sent off as the 5-2 favorite, Natagora, a Pascal Bary-trained daughter of the Sunday Silence stallion Divine Light, was running beyond seven furlongs for the first time but had just enough stamina to hold off a late cavalry charge. Saoirse Abu was third, another half-length back, with Infallible fourth, a neck further behind. The unlucky Nahoodh, blocked at the eighth pole, was a head behind Infallible and might have won the classic mile with a clear run. The winning time on good ground was 1:38.99.

Natagora has a number of options, among them the Irish 2000 Guineas and Royal Ascot's Coronation Stakes, as well as the French Oaks, but the evidence provided by the 1000 Guineas suggests that a mile is her optimum trip.

Getaway, an Andre Fabre-trained Monsun 5-year-old, had begun a big day for France when he won the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes. At 8-5, he beat Sixties Icon by a handy 3 3/4 lengths and will be aimed at the Coronation Cup, the KIng George and the Arc.

* At Longchamp on Monday, Fabre saddled the 12-1 Democrate to win the 1 3/8-mile Group 2 Prix Hocquart. Second in three previous starts versus lesser, he is now a prime contender for the French Derby on June 1.