Chantilly: Speedy Boarding pips Pleascach in thriller

Speedy Boarding beats Pleascach in the Prix de L’Opera

Speedy Boarding (black and white) nails Pleascach (blue) in the l’Opera

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

 By Alex Wiltshire 2:22PM 2 OCT 2016 

Report: France, Sunday

Chantilly: Prix de l’Opera Longines (Group 1), 1m2f, 3yo+ fillies and mares

SPEEDY BOARDING would sooner board the ferry across the Channel than race on home soil as the James Fanshawe-trained filly battled tenaciously to win her second Group 1 in France in the Prix de l’Opera, edging out runner-up Pleascach in a photo-finish.

Odds-on favourite So Mi Dar looked in trouble at an early stage and, although closing the gap close home, could only finish third.


Godolphin-owned Pleascach made most of the running under Kevin Manning, but could not repel the relentless challenge of Prix Jean Romanet-winner Speedy Boarding as jockey Freddy Tylicki got his mount up to win by a short-head.

Victory gave Fanshawe a fifth success at the highest level in France, and he paid tribute to a “wonderful” filly, who looks to have run her final race.

“There didn’t deserve to be a loser in that race,” Fanshawe said. “She’s been a wonderful filly for the yard. She’s raised her game again from the Romanet and she really battled.”

Superb training display

In finishing second, Jim Bolger produced a tremendous training display with Pleascach, with the four-year-old last seen finishing fourth behind Golden Horn in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown nearly 13 months ago.

“That was good but I was hoping she would win,” said Bolger. “We’ll see how she comes out of it but the fillies’ and mares’ race at Ascot could be an option, and the Breeders’ Cup as well. She has been lightly raced.”

John Gosden was left ruing bad luck in running, as So Mi Dar found herself with plenty of ground to make up entering the straight. “The one in front of us slipped on the bend and knocked us further back than we wanted to be, so we got shut in,” said Gosden. “She has run a lovely race, though.”

Speedy Boarding was cut to 10-1 for the Qipco Champions Fillies and Mares race at Ascot on October 15, but owner-breeder Mark Weinfeld confirmed she will head to the paddocks.

“To win two Group 1s in a season is really quite something,” he said. “She’s just improved and improved as the year’s gone on. She’ll retire now; the fillies’ and mares’ race [on Champions Day at Ascot] would probably come a bit too soon.”

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