James Fanshawe’s Audarya caused a huge shock in the Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville.
While Newmarket-based Fanshawe had won the race twice recently with Ribbons (2014) and Speedy Boarding (2016), Audarya looked to have plenty to find with the main protagonists.
Ridden by Ioritz Mendizabal, she travelled sweetly into contention before hitting the front a furlong out in the mile-and-a-quarter heat.
Close home it only concerned two fillies with Ambition the only serious rival to Audarya, but Mendizabal only needed to give his mount a couple of flicks with the whip to keep her up to her work and she responded willingly, with the pair coming well clear.
John Gosden’s Nazeef, winner of the Falmouth Stakes and the mount of Frankie Dettori, was well fancied, but she failed to shine on testing ground and was well beaten.
Audarya was last seen winning a handicap on the all-weather at Newcastle, triumphing off a mark of 99.
Fanshawe said: “I’m feeling very relieved.
“I’ve always been biased as she’s been one of my favourites all along, but she had no luck earlier in the year.
“She got no run at Kempton (behind Nazeef) and then the horses weren’t quite right when she ran at Pontefract.
“We ran her in the handicap at Newcastle last time out to get her confidence back and she won that.
“This is a race we’ve been lucky in having won it twice before, so it was always in the back of my mind and when we looked at other options for her, there weren’t too many.
“Alison Swinburn, her owner, was keen to let her take her chance, so we did. I was concerned about the ground, but it came off so it’s great – Ioritz rode a lovely race.
“She’s a big, strong filly who has probably taken time to come to herself.
“We’ll enjoy today before think about what’s next, but she doesn’t want to be going more than 10 furlongs. She’s in the Prix de l’Opera, so that would be the obvious one to aim at.”
Mendizabal told Sky Sports Racing: “Before the race I spoke to the trainer and he asked me to get a good position, but more importantly to get her to relax.
“He said if she didn’t relax she wouldn’t finish, as it was a very good race.
“She won easy. The trainer wasn’t sure about the ground, he felt she’d prefer good ground so I’m not sure how she won like that.
“It’s a nice story that Francois Doumen bred her, as I know him very well.”