French ace Dalkala stays on strongly to land the Group 2 Middleton StakesPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Dalkala trumps York rivals for Royer-Dupre
Report: York, Thursday
Betfred Middleton Stakes (Group 2) 1m2½f, 4yo+, fillies and mares
FRENCH raider Dalkala showed a dashing turn of foot to seal victory for trainer Alain Royer-Dupre and jockey Christophe Lemaire.
The 2-1 favourite was carrying a 3lb penalty for a Group 2 win at Longchamp on Arc day last year, but she demonstrated her vast superiority over her seven rivals with an ultimately comfortable success.
The game Ambivalent stuck on for second, while Ladys First took third.
Royer-Dupre, who triumphed on his only visit to the track last season when Shareta denied The Fugue in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks, had expressed concerns about Dalkala's unsettled journey to England on Wednesday.
However, she displayed nothing during the race to suggest she had been affected and quickened up smartly to lead between the final two furlongs.
Although second favourite Cubanita attempted to mount a serious challenge under Jim Crowley as the pace increased, she was firmly put in her place by the winner, who went on to score convincingly by a length.
Royer-Dupre said: "She had a preparation race, which was a big help. She maybe got there a bit soon but she stayed well. She could come back for the Yorkshire Oaks, although maybe she is not quite that level."
Ambivalent ran a cracker in second, keeping on strongly to take second for Roger Varian, while Ladys First acquitted herself well in the hands of Paul Hanagan.
Starscope, last year's 1,000 Guineas runner-up, kept on steadily down the stands' rail to fill fourth place, while Emirates Queen could never land a telling blow for Kieren Fallon after a slow start.