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Qatar Vermeille : Star Catcher holds on to her crown

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The favourite from England Star Catcher (Sea the Stars) won the Qatar Prix Vermeille (Gr1) from pillar to post, on Sunday at ParisLongchamp. Trained by John Gosden for her breeder Anthony Oppenheimer, the 3-year-old filly was ridden by Lanfranco Dettori. She finally beats a group of four fillies and mares, the best being the French 4-year-old Musis Amica (Dawn Approach), a good finishing 2nd at three parts of a length, beating the other older filly in the field Ligne d’Or (Dansili), who was also long kept at the rear. Villa Marina (Le Havre), the Prix de Psyche (Gr3) winner at Deauville over 10 furlongs, ends up 4th in front of the Irish visitor Fleeting (Zoffany).

Star Catcher was bred at Anthony Oppenheimer’s Hascombe and Valiant Stud. It was her 6th race. She ran once at 2 over Chelmsford City’s all-weather track, finishing 6th out of 12 runners. She came back at 3 with a Newbury win and fought hard only to concede a neck in a Newbury Listed. She then won her first big race in Royal Ascot’s own Oaks, the Ribblesdale Stakes (Gr2), and beat Fleeting again in the Irish Oaks (Gr1) by half a length.

She’s out of Lynnwood Chase (Horse Chestnut), whose sire was a champion in South Africa, the Oppenheimer’s country. The mare was in training in France with Richard Gibson, sporting Mrs Oppenheimer’s colours. She ran twice and wouldn’t make the frame even though she’d been paid €140,000 by agent Hugo Lascelles at the Deauville yearling sale when consigned by the Haras du Quesnay.

At stud, however, Lynnwood Chase became a completely different proposition, giving forst the good Pisco Sour (Lemon Drop Kid), a Prix Eugène Adam (Gr2) winner, then Cannock Chase (Lemon Drop Kid), who won the Canadian International (Gr1) at Toronto, and finally Star Catcher, her first dual Gr1 winner.