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O’Brien so close to joining elite list as Porta Fortuna just denied

O’Brien so close to joining elite list as Porta Fortuna just denied
O’Brien so close to joining elite list as Porta Fortuna just denied

Donnacha O’Brien will target the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot having seen Porta Fortuna go close to providing him with a first British Classic in the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

The 25-year-old twice won the 2000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile as a jockey but the fillies equivalent eluded him during his time in the saddle and continues to be missing from his trophy cabinet having seen his Cheveley Park Stakes heroine miss out by just a neck in the hands of Tom Marquand.

O’Brien missed the race due to a technical fault on his plane keeping him grounded. However, there was nothing wrong with the engine of his daughter of Caravaggio, who allayed any stamina doubts when running on all the way to the line.

A winner of the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot as a two-year-old, she now has the option of Classic redemption in the Irish 1,000 Guineas available. But her handler is favouring a return to the royal meeting in an attempt to strike there for a second year in a row.

Porta Fortuna has a great Newmarket record
Porta Fortuna has a great Newmarket record (Tim Goode/PA)

O’Brien said: “She ran a cracker, she travelled well through the race, Tom gave her a lovely ride and she hit the line pretty well as well, so I’m delighted with her.

“It was a strongly-run race over a straight mile and I think she got it well. I think once the ground is nice she’ll stay the trip well.

“We’ll take her back and see how she is, but the options are either go to the Curragh for the Irish Guineas or go straight to Royal Ascot. I’d imagine Ascot is going to be one of the main targets for her, whether we take in the Curragh on the way we’re not sure yet.

“I think it will be the Coronation Stakes at Ascot, Tom was happy that she got the mile well.”

Christopher Head can be forgiven for imagining he was about to join the other members of his illustrious family on the race’s roll of honour, when Aurelien Lemaitre set sail for home aboard French raider Ramatuelle.

Having turned up the heat with just the final two furlongs to run, the bold move looked as if it had paid off before she lost two places in the dying strides and had to settle for a brave, but ultimately vanquished, third.

Head said: “It was a very nice run from Ramatuelle and I was very happy with her performance today.

“We needed to be humble today as we were up against plenty of very nice fillies but she held her own and ran a very nice race.

Aurelien Lemaitre (left) and Christopher Head (centre) suffered Guineas heartbreak with Ramatuelle
Aurelien Lemaitre (left) and Christopher Head (centre) suffered Guineas heartbreak with Ramatuelle (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“I thought she would last home when she hit the rising ground and she has only been beaten a very few metres at the finish.

“The programme is still wide open for her – she can maybe go sprinting or stay at a mile. I will speak with her owners and see – everything is open to her. A mile is the limit of her stamina.

“I would like to thank the owners for letting me run her.”

Meanwhile, another who may leave Newmarket dreaming of what could have been is David Menuisier with his Tamfana the most unlucky of losers – beaten just half a length in fourth.

Her big-race pilot Jamie Spencer had to switch the 33-1 shot having met trouble in running at a crucial moment, with the daughter of Soldier Hollow coming home strongly once finding daylight.

David Menuisier was left with mixed emotions after the 1000 Guineas
David Menuisier was left with mixed emotions after the 1000 Guineas (Simon Marper/PA)

“I have mixed feelings,” said Menuisier.

“She was the unluckiest filly in the race but what can you do? The plan was to always to go to the French Oaks after today and she will still go there and she will have a good chance.

“I don’t really know what to say – you could run the race 100 times and 99 times she would win, but that’s life.

“I feel sorry for Jamie (Spencer, jockey) as well because it had nothing to do with him. He was there in the right spot – exactly in the same place as yesterday’s winner – and travelling better than anything else. It was a matter of getting gaps and we didn’t, which can happen. We are not the first people this has happened to and we won’t be the last – we have to cope with that.

“I’d like to be happy but I can’t really as we came here to win the race. I can be happy as we know have a very good filly – everything was right except the result.”

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