Villa Marina wins Prix de l’Opera Longines at ParisLongchamp
The Carlos Laffon Parias-trained Villa Marina sprang another of Sunday’s series of surprises at ParisLongchamp by winning the Prix de l'Opera Longines.
Olivier Peslier’s mount held off the challenge of Fleeting to win the Group 1 contest by a neck, with Watch Me less than a length behind the front two in third.
The race favourite Mehdaayih predictably made the early running under Frankie Dettori who was looking to put Enable’s defeat in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe behind him. However the horse faded inside the final furlong and Villa Marina emerged outside to take advantage. From there the three-year-old shifted up the gears right to the line, bravely seeing off the fast-finish of Fleeting to take the prize.
Speaking afterwards, a suitably delighted Laffon-Parias said, “She went very close over a mile and a half [in the Prix Vermeille] and the drop back to a mile and a quarter suited her today.
“Olivier rode the filly very well.”
There was another shock in store in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines as Glass Slippers romped home to a fine success.
Kevin Ryan’s three-year-old, who has now picked up success in France on her last three starts, was having her first run at the top level. And there was no suggestion she was out of her league by any stretch as travelled like an exceptional filly throughout, kicking clear to win the prize by a comfortable three length margin under Tom Eaves.
So Perfect finished second under Donnacha O’Brien with a strong late kick, while the John Quinn-trained El Astronaute took third in a finish dominated by English and Irish contenders.
Battaash, who was sent off a well-backed favourite, was under pressure at halfway and tailed off to finish well down the field under Jim Crowley.
Irish-based trainer Jessica Harrington claimed an equally handsome win in the day’s opener, the Marcel Boussac, thanks to Albigna. At the top of the home straight the daughter of Zoffany appeared to be flat to the boards in the Longchamp mud under Shane Foley, while at the furlong pole she still remained a good three lengths behind clear leader Marieta.
However, once Albigna stepped things up and was in full flow she was well on her way to what was a decisive and gritty two-and-a-half-length success.
Godolphin’s up and coming horses continues to dominate and show good primised as demonstrated by Victor Ludorum in winning the Jean-Luc Lagardere. Ridden by Mickael Barzalona, the winner joined his Andre Fabre-trained stablemate Earthlight and Charlie Appleby’s exciting Pinatubo as Group 1 winners with a tidy three-quarters of a length success.
The margin of Victor Ludorum’s superiority over longtime leader Alson and Armory was made all the more impressive for a colt who only made his debut on 1 September and was having his third start in just five weeks.