James Fanshawe’s Audarya was denied a repeat victory by the narrowest of margins courtesy of outsider Grand Glory in the Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville.
A surprise winner of the race herself 12 months ago, Audarya had gone on to prove herself a filly of the highest class, winning at the Breeders’ Cup.
She arrived in Deauville with questions to answer, having disappointed at Goodwood – but looked sure to return to winning ways deep inside the final furlong.
Audarya had quickened up smartly under Ioritz Mendizabal to go clear, although she had been keen in the early stages and just began to tire close home.
But rather than the challenge coming from Nassau winner Lady Bowthorpe, who ultimately beat one home, or Ebaiyra, it was 33-1 chance Grand Glory closing her down.
The pair flashed by the line together, before a short wait led to Cristian Demuro riding Gianluca Bietolini’s five-year-old getting the verdict.
Fanshawe said: “Watching it live I had thought we had won, but we didn’t so that was obviously disappointing. But that’s the game.
“It was really good to see her run so well after the disappointment at Goodwood. She’s back on form and she’s run really well.
“We’ll focus on today, Goodwood has gone and this should hopefully set her up for a nice autumn campaign.
“We’ll take it a race at a time and aim for the Prix de l’Opera now. It would be nice if we got some better ground because her best form is on better ground.
“I hope there’s another Group One in her if we keep her right.”
Audarya is likely to clash again with Grand Glory on Arc day.
Bietolini said: “Coming here and winning a Group One is a great dream come true! The mare really deserves it. Last year she was unlucky but, this year, things are going better! Cristian Demuro has ridden her to perfection.
“I knew that Grand Glory was very well within herself, and was sure that she would run well today. She was already a prior dual Group Three winner and Group One place-getter going into the race, and she owed us nothing.
“The next logical step is the Prix de l’Opéra. After this, she will be retired to the paddocks.
“I had already enjoyed six Group One successes in Italy, but this is my first French one. I can’t believe it. She has won on the all-weather, on heavy ground, on good ground, and on very soft ground – she can do it all, as the good horses invariably can.
“She just needs plenty of pace so as to be able to harness her turn of foot. She is extraordinary.”