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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Wootton edges Olmedo in Fontainbleau thriller to set up Classic rematch

Wind Chimes out of Guineas picture after being upstaged by Musis Amica

Musis Amica: created big impression in Prixe de la Grotte
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Longchamp: Prix de Fontainebleau (Group 3) 1m, 3yo colts

Early-season soft ground Classic trials in France are not supposed to produce rousing duels but Wootton and Olmedo served up a treat for racegoers at the newly rechristened ParisLongchamp on Sunday. 

It was Godolphin's unbeaten Wootton who got the verdict by a head, leaving plenty of anticipation in both camps ahead of the projected rematch in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains here in a month's time. 

"It might have looked quite a tough race but Mickael [Barzalona] held on to him and waited before asking for his maximum effort," said trainer Alex Pantall, who recommended the colt to Sheikh Mohammed after a wide-margin debut success.

"When the other one came alongside he just needed a little shake of the reins. And there was plenty of distance back to the rest."

Barzalona dictated matters on Wootton, who was edgy during the preliminaries but settled well in front. 

"I was a bit worried because he was a bit wound up in the paddock but it was like that before his debut," said Pantall. "He was maybe just a bit fresh. I hope he'll come on from this and will learn to relax a bit. It was a good start to the year."

Olmedo may have been beaten for a third time in his career but trainer Jean-Claude Rouget refused to be downhearted after his horse showed a fine turn of foot and a great attitude on cloying ground.

"I think the pair of them are clearly superior to the others and I think the two will finish one-two in the Poule d'Essai," said Rouget. "Maybe they'll take turns at beating one another. I hope we can come out on top the next time, it was a positive performance."

Report: Prix de la Grotte (Group 3) 1m, 3yo fillies

Barzalona and Godolphin secured a Classic trial double when Musis Amica picked up stylishly in the home straight to score.

A first Group winner for her sire Dawn Approach, the once-raced Musis Amica will now head for the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches after bursting between runners to score by a length and a quarter, with Magical and Ryan Moore a length back in fourth.

"She had a lot of other options but I thought that Longchamp would suit her well," said Fabre. "She has a big long stride and a big action and she has the pedigree for that [to stay further]."

Fabre had appeared to hold stronger claims before the race with the unbeaten Wind Chimes, who had been no bigger than 11-1 for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas on Sunday morning but she was never able to get into a challenging position for Pierre-Charles Boudot and finished fifth.

Fabre said: "She had some setbacks this winter and was short of work. I’m not sure she's suited by a course like Longchamp. For the moment she won’t go for the Guineas, and I see her as more of a seven-furlong horse."

In the Prix Noailles, the day's final Group race, Moore and Flag Of Honour lost out by two heads to the Rouget-trained Pharrell.

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I think the pair of them are clearly superior to the others and I think that those two will finish 1-2 in the Poule d'Essai
E.W. Terms
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