Teona shocked Snowfall as she pulled off an unexpected victory in the Group One Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp.
Roger Varian’s Teona had finished 28 lengths behind runaway Oaks heroine Snowfall when only 10th to her at Epsom back in June.
But she turned the Classic form round emphatically to gain her revenge – as 2-9 favourite Snowfall – who had also been sensational in winning the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks – could finish only a length-and-a-half runner-up, and Teona (11-1) scored at the top level for the first time.
Snowfall, ridden again here by Frankie Dettori as she was at Epsom, was held up off the pace as her Ballydoyle stablemate La Joconde made much of the running – with Teona positioned in second by Olivier Peslier.
Dettori began to bridge the gap into the straight – but by then Teona – who had been her own worst enemy this season in terms of settling – had already made her telling challenge, and always appeared in control thereafter.
Snowfall had gone into her Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trial as ante-post favourite for the autumn highlight over course and distance next month – but after this defeat, she was eased to 6-1 from 5-2 by Coral, who rate Teona a 16-1 chance and make Derby hero Adayar their 4-1 favourite. Paddy Power and Betfair went 4-1 about Snowfall from 9-4.
The surprise outcome vindicated the belief Varian has long expressed in Teona.
The Newmarket trainer told Sky Sports Racing: “I’m delighted, speechless really.
“Everything went smooth – I thought Olivier did a great job on the filly, and she settled well.
“She showed what she can do … what she’s capable of. We’ve always had massive faith in this filly, and we were disappointed how the first half of the season went for us.
“But we gave her time, and I’d like to thank the owner for being very patient.”
Teona had also finished third to Snowfall when they were both having their first starts of the season in the Musidora Stakes at York in May – but she returned to winning form, after her Oaks setback, to easily land a Listed race at Windsor next month.
Varian added: “She’s a big-framed filly, and maybe she’s just needed time. I trained her mother (Ambivalent), who was very good – (and) she didn’t win her Group One until she was an older filly.
“I think the family mature into themselves as they get older, so no doubt time has helped her.”
As well as the Arc, Teona holds entries over varying trips next month in the Prix de l’Opera and Prix de Royallieu.
Varian hinted, however, that the Arc is most likely – as long as the ground stays in Teona’s favour in Paris.
“Most importantly, (we must) make sure the filly is sound and healthy tomorrow morning – and see how she trains over the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“I’d like to hope those are options we can consider. I do think she’s a filly who appreciates a sound surface, so she’d want this sunshine to continue for another few weeks.
“I think a mile and a half is her trip. I’ll speak with her owner and the team at home, but she’s got all those options because we believed in her – and I’m so pleased she’s come good today.”
Peslier, a four-time Arc winner himself, gave Teona a vote of confidence too.
Asked if she could follow up in the Arc, he said: “Why not?
“I’ve had many winners (in the race). But each one is different – so if we have a chance to win another one, of course.
“If you don’t run, you never win.”
Dettori, meanwhile, felt the pace of the race had not suited Snowfall.
He said: “I found myself too far from the front end of the race, and Hollie Doyle, on La Joconde, didn’t go fast enough for my filly.
“The race turned into a sprint.”