Audarya strikes for Fanshawe in Filly & Mare Turf

Newmarket trainer James Fanshawe struck with his first runner in the Breeders’ Cup when Audarya came with a late run to claim the Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland.

The four-year-old had stepped up to the mark at the top level with victory in the Prix Jean Romanet and third place in the Prix de l’Opera on her opening two attempts, and did so again with a determined effort.

She was ridden for the first time by Pierre-Charles Boudot, who Fanshawe called in as a late substitute for Ioritz Mendizabal after he tested positive for Covid-19.

There was drama at the start when Starship Jubilee unseated her rider Florent Geroux after stumbling coming out of the stalls.

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Shane Foley rushed up the Jessica Harrington-trained Cayenne Pepper from her wide draw to lead by the first turn, with the main American hopefuls Mean Mary and Rushing Fall close by.

They looked like fighting out the finish once Cayenne Pepper had weakened by the home turn – but Boudot and Audarya had other ideas.

She hit the front in the final furlong and battled on gamely to score by a neck from Rushing Fall, with Harvey’s Lil Goil half a length away in third place.

Fanshawe was attending the Breeders’ Cup for only the second time – the first being in 1986 when assistant to Sir Michael Stoute as he ran Sonic Lady and Milligram.

He said of the Alison Swinburn-owned filly: “We took it step by step with her and found that she really improved for a step up to a mile and a quarter.

“She won a tiny race at Newcastle and then managed to win the Group One Romanet in France after which we mapped out a proper campaign, which started with a very good run in the Prix de l’Opera, in which she was done by the lack of pace.

“It then left us with six weeks before the Breeders’ Cup and Alison was very keen to go.

“We did have a slight concern before Deauville about whether she would handle soft ground, because she is a very good mover, but it seems she can go on anything.

“I said to Pierre-Charles she might be a bit keen and to try to get a bit of cover, but how he got from stall 11 to the rail was just incredible. She kept finding under a wonderful ride from the jockey.

“The plan now will be for her to remain in training and if she remains in one piece hopefully she will come back to the States to run in this race at Del Mar.”

He added: “Alison was unable to come this time, but she will be having quite a celebration.

“It was bad luck on Ioritz, but he shares the same agent as Pierre and she just kept finding when he asked her in the final two furlongs.”

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