Horses To Follow » Sarafina


The Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained filly Sarafina put up an impressive performance to win the Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp on Sunday. Always travelling well towards the rear off a decent enough pace that was set by Frankie Dettori on Hibaayeb, she did squeeze through a small enough gap two furlongs out, tightening T’As D’Beaux Yeux up against the rail, an incident into which there was a fairly lengthy stewards’ enquiry and, the French rules being what they are, could easily have resulted in the winner being thrown out. However, once she was in the clear, she picked up impressively to get out after Hibaayeb. Gerald Mosse actually sat up on her for a couple of strides when she moved in behind the leader, he seemed to know that he had plenty of energy underneath him and he didn’t want to hit the front too early, but when he did go for her, she picked up impressively to pick up the Godolphin filly and go clear. Deluxe did give chase on the outside, and she narrowed the gap down to a half a length at the line, but Mosse was easy enough on the Aga Khan’s filly inside the final 100 yards and she was never in danger of being caught.

Unraced as a juvenile, this was just Sarafina’s second ever run, and it was a huge step up into a Group 1 contest after winning a maiden at Chantilly over a mile on her racecourse debut just three weeks ago. There was a lot to like about this performance, the bravery that she showed to go through a narrow gap, and the willingness with which she picked up after that incident, displaying a taking turn of foot and winning easily from a decent performer in Deluxe, who was two for two going into this, with third-placed Hibaayeb, last year’s Group 1 Fillies Mile winner, giving the form a solid look. Sarafina stayed this 10-furlong trip well, she seemed to handle the fast ground well, and she is an exciting prospect. The Prix de Diane is the obvious race for her, but connections also have Rosanara for that race. Sarafina is also in the Irish Oaks, but it is not certain that she will improve for stepping up in trip. On breeding, Rosanara is more likely to thrive over a mile and a half than Sarafina is, so the right move may be to send Rosanara to The Curragh and keep Sarafina at home for the Prix de Diane. It is a nice quandary to have, both are exciting fillies.

23rd May 2010

© The Irish Field, 29th May 2010