Speedy hits Opera high notes
James Fanshawe's Speedy Boarding emerged victorious after a thrilling climax to the the Longines-sponsored Prix de l'Opera at Chantilly.
Speedy Boarding (right): Opera winner
Winner of the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville on her latest appearance, Speedy Boarding was sent on her way at 11-2 to gain her second successive Group One success in the hands of Frederik Tylicki, with the market dominated by the John Gosden-trained So Mi Dar.
The latter, so impressive when winning the Musidora Stakes in the spring, missed much of the summer through injury but having made a successful comeback at Yarmouth last month, she was the 4-6 favourite to stretch her unbeaten record to five.
Jemayel took the field along early, but was soon passed by Pleascach, making her first appearance for Jim Bolger since finishing fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes over a year ago.
The Irish challenger remained in the lead rounding the home turn, but was soon pressed by Speedy Boarding and the pair engaged in a pulsating duel.
All the while Frankie Dettori had to sit and suffer on the rail as he waited for the gap to come aboard So Mi Dar and when it did, his mount took a stride or two to fully engage top gear.
It was too late as the front pair were clear and as they flashed by the post, it was Speedy Boarding who had her nose in front.
Pleascach ran a fantastic race after a 386-day absence, with supporters of So Mi Dar perhaps wondering what might have been.
A glorious retirement now appears on the cards for the winner, with Fanshawe saying: "She'll probably go to stud now. Ascot will come too soon for her and this will be her final year."
Fanshawe added: "It was a brilliant race and there didn't deserve to be a loser.
"She's so tough and has been a wonderful filly for the yard.
"She raised her game again after the Romanet and really battled."
Bolger said of the Godolphin-owned Pleascach: "She has run extremely well and might not be finished for the season. Let's see what Sheikh Mohammed wants to do because I go in the same direction as he does."
Gosden indicated So Mi Dar could have another run this season.
He said: "She got knocked back early in the race and got out to make her run late and it was too late.
"Let's see how she is and then make a plan."
Her owner Lady Lloyd Webber added: "She loved the ground, but was all over the place and got in a terrible muddle. It just shows how hard Group Ones are to win."
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