A thrilling first Fast-Track Qualifier at Cagnes-sur-Mer on the south coast of France was seen recently as Growing Glory turned the tables on favourite Djoko, with the first four home covered by less than a length.
Growing Glory, trained by Francois Rohaut at Pau and partnered by Stephane Pasquier, took the Listed Prix de la Californie over a mile on Polytrack by a neck and gains a guaranteed free place in the £150,000 32Red.com Three-Year-Old Championships over the same distance and surface at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 3.
The Orpen filly raced in second place of the seven runners on the inside as Romeo Lima set a good pace in front, with Djoko, trained by Philippe Sogorb and the mount of Roberto-Carlos Montenegro, in fifth and then fourth towards the outside.
Growing Glory, a 7.3/1 shot, started to throw down a challenge with two furlongs remaining and was upside the leader at the distance before edging ahead with a half-furlong remaining.
Djoko, a 1.4/1 chance, came through to go second but could not quite get to grips with Growing Glory, whose time was 1m 35.98s, while outsider Muqaawel (Ana Imaz Ceca/Julien Auge) snatched third, half a length in arrears, by a short-head from Romeo Lima (Jean-Claude Rouget/Ioritz Mendizabal) in fourth.
Rohaut said: “I am very pleased with the progress being made by this filly. I am very keen to bring her to Lingfield on Good Friday. The distance and Polytrack will be perfect for Growing Glory.”
The finals day is certain to have an international flavour, creating growing interest in the championships, which are being held for the first time this year.
Horses qualify for the seven championship contests on the £1.1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day (Good Friday, April 3, 2015) by winning a specified “Fast Track Qualifier” or running in a minimum of three races at Britain’s five All-Weather tracks, Lingfield Park, Southwell and Wolverhampton, owned by ARC, The Jockey Club’s Kempton Park and Chelmsford City, between October 30 and March 30.
Alternatively, one of the three qualifying runs can come at Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse (dirt) or on the All-Weather surfaces at Ireland’s Dundalk and the French tracks of Cagnes-sur-Mer, Chantilly and Deauville.