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Qatar Marcel Boussac : Albigna, Lady Harrington’s other Princess

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There was only one foreign runner in the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac (Gr1), the Irish-trained Albigna (Zoffany), and she delivered the goods. As it was which proved toughest of all as by proving the only one capable of reeling-in the front running Marieta (Siyouni). The latter only weakened inside the final 200 metres. Flighty Lady (Sir Percy) took third.

Albigna races in the colours of her owners, the Niarchos Family, who also bred the filly. These renowned colours have annexed this race on five occasions. However, it marked a first win in the race for the filly’s Irish handler Jessica Harrington. The latter is enjoying an excellent campaign with her juveniles, as four of this age group have won for the yard at group level. Albigna is the highest rated of this division in the stable. She won her first two races before finishing out of the money in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, although it later transpired that she had come into season.

Previously a beaten favourite in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Gr1), September 15 in Ireland, she was in season that day. It was wiser to remember that Albigna had jumped into the picture spectacularly in the Airlie Stud Stakes (Gr2) at the Curragh on June 28th. Jessica Harrington also saddled the winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes (Gr1) last week in Newmarket with the very promising Millisle. Albigna was homebred in Ireland by the Niarchos family, who already has 4 “Marcel Boussac” wins.

The winner’s dam Freedonia (Selkirk) won the Prix Pomone (Gr2) at Deauville for the Niarchos family and trainer John Hammond, who also saddled her at Belmont Park, New York, to finish second in the Turf Classic (Gr1). Freedonia’s dam is a sister of the Breeders’Cup Mile (Gr1) winner Domedriver (Indian Ridge).

Quotes

Jessica Harrington (the trainer of Albigna, 1st)

“I hadn’t expected my filly to deliver a performance of this calibre. I was a bit apprehensive as the filly hadn’t raced in such ground, but the progeny of Zoffany are capable of handling underfoot conditions. That was clearly the case. She came into season on her previous start and this accounts for her disappointing effort. It marks another Gr1 success for the yard with a chestnut filly – following on from the victory of Millisle at Newmarket last week (notes to editors: The Cheveley Park Stakes). I think that I’m going to become superstitious when I go to the sales!”

Shane Foley (the jockey of Albigna, 1st)

“It was very testing ground and she had never raced in such conditions. She showed a good turn of foot.”

Mauricio Delcher Sanchez (the trainer of Marieta, 2nd)

“Granted the state of the ground, the mile was clearly stretching her stamina to the limit. I think that she would have done even better on a drier track. However, she nevertheless handled the conditions. She ran a blinder as the filly had to make the running – and it took a very good filly to beat her. She proved capable of quickening the pace and confirmed that she is on the upgrade. We’re delighted with the effort. We’re going to study the list of options available to her – with a view to deciding whether to stick to 1600m or drop her back in trip. All will be revealed next year.”

Gavin Hernon (the trainer of Flighty Lady, 3rd)

“The fact that she has been able to finish in such a Group 1 race is fantastic. She had an unlucky time of it in the Prix d’Aumale (Group 3), having finished third when she never came under the whip. Ryan Moore confirmed this impression. Despite obtaining this placing on a heavy track, I think that Flighty Lady is a better filly on good ground. Maxime Guyon said that she gave her all but without showing the turn of foot which she is capable of when conditions are riding faster. Granted an extra 100m, I think that she was could have thrown her hat in the ring as regards finishing second. She will now be roughed off for the season – with a view to a three-year-old campaign. Her breeding suggests that she is very much a three-year-old and the owner, Paul Hancock, is thinking very much in terms of a three-year-old campaign for the filly. I’m glad that I’ve been able to repay the owner’s trust in me and he’s been supportive from the outset. He is thinking in terms of the big three-year-old prizes rather than the top juvenile ones.”