10/14/2006 12:00AM

Pride makes point in Champion Stakes


Pride provided a convincing argument that she is the best filly or mare in the world when she stormed home for a three-length victory in the Group 1, $650,000 Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Closer to the pace than usual in fourth, the 6-year-old French-bred daughter of Peintre Celebre took the lead at the furlong marker and sped clear under Christophe Lemaire to defeat Rob Roy, who was just up to pass 2-1 favorite Hurricane Run for second by a head. French Oaks winner Confidential Lady was fifth, Epsom Derby champ Sir Percy was a dull seventh in his first start since June 3, while Juddmonte International hero Notnowcato, a Michael Stoute-trained stablemate of Rob Roy, trailed home last of eight. The time for the straight 1 1/4 miles on good to soft ground that suited the winner perfectly was 2:06.81.

Victory for the 7-2 Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Pride was also the third time this season that she has finished in front of last year's European champion Hurricane Run. She had nipped him on the line when taking the 1 1/2-mile Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in June, then swept by him at Longchamp on Oct. 1 when she came flying home for second in a Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in which Hurricane Run was fourth, three lengths behind her. In last year's Champion Stakes she was second to David Junior and then filled the runner-up spot again behind Vengeance of Rain in the Hong Kong Cup, a race in which she could make her next and final start on Dec. 10, unless Royer-Dupre opts for the Japan Cup on Nov. 26.

Hurricane Run, a reluctant leader to the three-eighths pole, was losing for the fourth time in six 2006 starts but is not through yet. A disappointed Andre Fabre said that his Montjeu 4-year-old was still under consideration for the Breeders' Cup Turf and the Japan Cup, although he appeared to be leaning toward a trip to Tokyo. Fabre also said that Shirocco was a candidate for the same two races "or possibly retirement."

Teofilo wins hard-fought Dewhurst

Teofilo gave Holy Roman Emperor a second successive beating in the Group 1, $465,000 Dewhurst Stakes but had to work harder this time. The Jim Bolger-trained winner had taken the measure of the Aidan O'Brien-trained runner-up by 1 1/4 lengths last time in the Curragh's National Stakes over the same seven furlongs as the Dewhurst, in which his winning margin was only a head. The pair staged a ferocious duel through the final furlong Saturday with Teofilo, who was ridden by Kevin Manning as the 6-5 choice, ultimately prevailing with two-time Group 2 winner Strategic Prince third, 2 1/2 lengths behind. The winning time was 1:26.12.

By the hot young stallion Galileo, the undefeated Teofilo, who is named for Olympic Cuban heavyweight boxing champion Teofilo Stevenson, looks likely to be named Europe's champion juvenile colt, although Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes winner Dutch Art has his supporters.

* The seven-furlong $167,000 Challenge Stakes failed to produce a Breeders' Cup Mile candidate, but it did give George Strawbridge his second European Group 2 winner in two weeks as Sleeping Indian went one place better than last year in defeating Killybegs by a length. Trained by John Gosden and ridden by Jimmy Fortune, Sleeping Indian, who will now be retired, covered the distance in 1:26.16 as the 9-2 favorite. Strawbridge had also been successful at Longchamp on Sept. 30 when his Montare won the 1 9/16-mile Group 2 Prix de Royallieu.

* In the seven-furlong Group 2 Rockfel Stakes for juvenile fillies, the Bolger-trained Finsceal Beo followed up on her six-length romp in the one-mile Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp 13 days ago with an equally convincing three-length score over Rahiyah as the 2-1 favorite.

* In the Group 1, $335,000 Premio Vittorio di Capua at a mile in Milan, the 9-2 Ramonti led throughout to defeat Notability by 2 1/2 lengths, with Godolphin's Breeders' Cup possibility Caradak a disappointing third, a nose behind the runner-up.