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Onesto © Elliott Chouraqui/ScoopDyga
Europe

Two new Group winners for Frankel at Saint-Cloud

Frankel colt Onesto won the Gr.2 Prix Greffulhe going away and less than two hours later Sibila Spain scooped the Gr.2 Prix Muguet, her second stakes win on Sunday 8th May.

Taken from the Thoroughbred Daily News, 9th May 2022:

Fabrice Chappet-trained Onesto attained 'TDN Rising Star' status with a dominant performance going one mile at Chantilly in September, but had not scored in two subsequent outings before lining up as a 12-1 chance for Sunday's Gr.2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud.

He opened his three-year-old campaign with a close-up eighth in ParisLongchamp's Gr.3 Prix de Fontainebleau last time and was tackling a distance beyond a mile for the first time here. He employed patient tactics and trailed all five rivals through halfway and into the straight. Making headway inside the final 500 metres, he powered into contention and produced an electrifying turn of foot in the latter stages to surge clear for a career high. At the line, he had two and a half lengths to spare from Juddmonte's hitherto undefeated three-year-old filly and 4-5 favourite Agave.

Fabrice Chappet commented: "He showed his true form today, after a moderate run on his [seasonal] return, but on that occasion he needed the race and more importantly the one-mile trip was too short."

He added: "He still ran a decent race [last time] and, for the first time, he was on his real distance here. He had been brilliant on debut and was quite immature so it is not a surprise to see him improve."

The winning rider Stephane Pasquier said: "I just love this little horse, he has perfect balance and a devastating kick. He didn't really appreciate the all-weather surface in his second run at two and he was not fit on his seasonal return and needed further. I really fancy him in the French Derby."

Sibila Spain went on to register a pattern race double for Frankel at Saint-Cloud. Yeguada Centurion's daughter of the Gr.1 Irish Oaks runner-up L'Ancresse took advantage of a change of plan to prevail in the Gr.2 Prix du Muguet. Abandoning the front-running tactics that had been employed of late, Aurelien Lemaitre anchored her in last throughout the early stages and she duly demonstrated her versatility and tractability by relaxing into a steady rhythm.

Enjoying a clear run down the outer inside the final two furlongs, the 7-1 shot built momentum to collar Dilawar in the final stride and force a head verdict.

"It was the right move to change tactics and come from behind," trainer Christopher Head said. "It's a great result and she proves she has lost none of her fighting spirit."

Sibila Spain had suggested several times since her nine-length winning debut here last March that a race like this was within her capabilities, finishing less than a length in arrears when coming from the back to be fourth in the Gr.1 Prix Saint-Alary and just over a length back when filling the same spot in the Gr.1 Prix de Diane. Having attempted to take the Chantilly Classic by the scruff of the neck, she was asked to go from the front again when garnering ParisLongchamp's Listed Prix de Liancourt over the same ten and a half furlong trip in September.

Putting it all together here, the bay who has upped her stock will race outside of France for the first time on her next start according to her trainer: "Last year in the [Gr.1] Prix Saint-Alary when she was held up she finished so fast, so I thought we had to try again," he added. "For the time being, we will stick to mile races and most probably we will go next to the [Gr.2] Duke of Cambridge Stakes [at Royal Ascot]."