05/13/2017 12:32PM

Precieuse relishes very soft ground in French 1000 Guineas win

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The unheralded Precieuse proved much the best Saturday at Deauville in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliche, the French 1000 Guineas, running out a 1 3/4-length winner over English raider Sea of Grace.

It was another three-quarters of a length back to Heuristique in third, with Wajnah another head behind in fourth. Aidan O’Brien ran fifth and sixth with Rain Goddess and Roly Poly, while the favored Senga was on or near the lead about a quarter-mile out before quickly being swarmed by better-traveling runners and checking in a well-beaten 10th.

Senga could have been one of a number of 3-year-old fillies troubled by a course rated “very soft.” The winning time for the straight-course mile was 1:37.19.

Precieuse was ridden to victory by Olivier Peslier, who notched his third French 1000 Guineas victory, while the filly gave trainer Fabrice Chappet not only his first classic success but his first win in a Group 1 race.

Precieuse is by Tamayuz and out of the Pivotal mare Zut Alors. She’s owned by Anne-Marie Hayes and now has four second-place finishes and two wins – both on very soft ground – in her six-start career.

Precieuse was a longshot Saturday but clearly was the best horse on the day. She raced near the stand’s side rail as the 18-strong field divided early into two distinct groups and maintained a tracking position not far from the fence even as most of the fillies bunched into one pack a couple furlongs into the Guineas. Precieuse struck the front a little more than a furlong from the finish and clearly was going best from there, with Sea of Grace, rallying on the opposite side of the track, also finishing well enough for the place.

Chappet said afterward there had been concern about Precieuse seeing out the one-mile distance, so it might be unlikely that she would go on to races like the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) that cover even more ground. Trainer William Haggas said that Sea of Grace would be pointed to the Irish 1000 Guineas.