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Karakontie justifies favouritism in Poule d'Essai des Poulains

Updated: Monday, 12 May 2014 14:11 | Comments

Karakontie previously tasted Group One glory at Longchamp in last season's Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere
Karakontie previously tasted Group One glory at Longchamp in last season's Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere

Hot favourite Karakontie repelled the challenge of Prestige Vendome to run out a determined winner of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp.

Karakontie won the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at the Paris track for English-born, French-based trainer Jonathan Pease last October and having suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of the sidelined Ectot on his return, he was a 6-4 favourite to take Classic glory.

Having travelled well on the heels of the leaders, Stephane Pasquier's mount quickened up well and had enough in the tank in the final furlong to hold off Prestige Vendome and Thierry Thulliez.

Outsider Pornichet just held on for third ahead of the best of the British contingent, John Gosden's Muwaary.

The dual Newbury winner pulled fiercely for his head in the hands of Paul Hanagan in the early stages and did well to finish as close as he did.

Marco Botti's Lat Hawill and the Andrew Balding-trained End Of Line were the back pair turning for home and neither made inroads, with Lat Hawill finishing tailed off.

Aidan O'Brien's challenger Giovanni Bolidini was well placed at the top of the straight for Ryan Moore, but didn’t pick up on ground much softer than ideal.

Alan Cooper, racing manager for winning owners the Niarchos family, said: "We are absolutely thrilled. The rain kept coming and Stephane said that blunted his action, but he showed his toughness and it was a good performance.

"It is a great result, the horse is now a Group One winner as a two-year-old and as a three-year-old.

"We have a number of options for him now and I think we will regroup with the owners, Stephane and Jonathan over the next few days before we make any decisions.

"He's in all the good races and we need to decide whether to stay at a mile or step him up in distance."

Asked whether the Investec Derby could come under consideration, Cooper said: "It is certainly a possibility. I wouldn't rule anything out at this stage.

"We will wait a few days, have a chat about things and then decide where we will go."

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