€600,000 Qatar Vermeille: Sweet Lady tricks them all

11 September 2022

Qatar Vermeille 22 Sweet Lady

Photo scoopdyga.com

September 11, 2022, ParisLongchamp Racecourse (Paris). – Winner of the Prix de Flore (Gr3) at the end of last year, then the Prix Corrida (Gr2) last May, fourth in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Gr1), Sweet Lady (Lope de Vega) has now won at the highest level over the Qatar Prix Vermeille (Gr1) 1m4f trip. The representative of Gemini Stud led all the way and hung on by one head, beating Lilac Road (Mastercraftsman), third and then fourth in Group 1 contests this summer across the Channel, and a formidable La Parisienne (Zarak), who came back from the rear to take the third place at a short neck after a messy straight.

On a softened turf course, Sweet Lady did not have to work hard to take and keep the lead, soon joined by Love Child (Dark Angel), who did not leave the stalls very well. The two mares were followed by Lilac Road and Baiykara (Zarak), with Albaflora (Muhaarar) flanking the leading group with no cover. The Epsom Oaks (Gr1) winner Tuesday (Galileo) then tried in vain to come back from the rear with Grand Glory (Olympic Glory), but the pace hadn’t been strong enough to leave them a real chance.

And so Sweet Lady pushed back Lilac Road, the two mares finally ahead of a very good La Parisienne, out since her Prix de Diane Longines second place in June.

The winner’s dam High Heel Sneakers (Dansili) is a Gr2-placed in Britain and a winner at Hollywood Park later on. Before Sweet Lady, she also gave the Listed-winner Toujours l’Amour (Authorized).

Eight of High Heel Sneakers' foals were sold at auction, and the most expensive was Toujours l’Amour, sold at 3 at the Tattersalls December sale for £190,000 to Richard O’Gorman Bloodstock. Sweet Lady had been sold as a yearling in 2019 by Hubert Honoré, and Paul Nataf got her for €100,000 €.

What they said:

Francis-Henri Graffard (the trainer of Sweet Lady, 1st) - Chantilly training centre (Oise)

« We always had the idea of aiming for the autumn, as we know that she likes soft tracks. She did well in the spring, though, winning the Prix Corrida. We skipped Deauville as she didn't have her ground. Her preparation went smoothly, she was very well, and I don't really understand why her odds were so big. When I saw her race from the front, with her loping ears, I said to myself that we were not that bad off! It was a very good ace. We'll discuss it with her owners, but we'll certainly be tempted by the Arc. On soft ground, she'll have a chance! »

Francis Teboul (the owner of Sweet Lady, 1st)

« We set our hearts on running this race, and so did the filly! Her jockey had never ridden her before. He gave her a great ride. Once she went to the front, the question was whether she would see it out until the finish, and she lasted! I'm going to talk to my son Benjamin about it, but I guess she has sealed her fate and is on her way to the Arc! »

Tom Marquand (the jockey of Lilac Road, 2nd)

« She ran very well, finishing strongly and displaying courage. She confirmed the form of her last two runs. The distance did not bother her. »

Jon Aisbitt (the owner of Lilac Road, 2nd)

« We are having an absolutely fantastic year with our horses. The filly has already been placed in several Group 1 races. It's wonderful. She proved yet again that she is up to the level of these races while showing that she stays 2,400 metres (12f). »

Yann Lerner (the co-trainer of La Parisienne, 3rd) - Maisons-Laffitte (Yvelines) training centre

«The filly has made a good return to competition. We had to be careful that she was not too revved up for her first attempt at 2,400 metres. Unfortunately, in the straight, La Parisienne took a bit of time when it came to getting a clear run. I think that if she had had a smoother passage in the straight, then she could have won. It was important that she was travelling well within herself during the race. La Parisienne yet again confirmed her excellent second place in the Prix de Diane Longines. This is a good omen. If the ground eases again, it won't be a problem. So we're heading to the Arc. »