Churchill's Blue Rose Cen Completes Rare Treble In The Diane

Blue Rose Cen / ScoopDyga


As Blue Rose Cen (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}–Queen Blossom {Ire}, by Jeremy) dominated the final 300 metres of Sunday's G1 Prix de Diane Longines, there was time for collective appreciation of the arrival of a new starlet for France. In pounding her peers in Chantilly's 10 1/2-furlong Classic by upwards of four lengths, the early gift from the racing gods to Leopoldo Fernández Pujals's fledgling breeding operation entered revered territory as only the fourth to add this prize to the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac and G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches. Doing so in a time second only to that of the great Treve (Fr) (Motivator {GB}), the unstoppable homebred pulled off the treble that places her in French racing's own Sacré-Cœur. Whether anybody truly believed beforehand that Christopher Head's versatile, straightforward and fearless filly was in the same league as the country's past queens Allez France, Divine Proportions and Zarkava (Ire) is questionable, but following this rampage it is a debate with legs.

Granted, she had the ideal draw in one and an almost acting bodyguard in stablemate Wise Girl (Fr) (Recoletos {Fr}) to her left throughout the all-important early hustling stages of this race, but when push came to shove from the top of the straight the 16-5 favourite was all business once again. For a brief period passing the two pole, Ryan Moore looked as if he might make a fight of it on Never Ending Story (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) but that threat was quickly extinguished as Aurelien Lemaitre disappeared into the distance. At the end of a renewal that had looked so strong on paper beforehand, there were notable disappointments such as the 10-3 second favourite Jannah Rose (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) who never entered contention and wound up sixth, but one dominant force whose hogging of all the headlines was throroughly deserved.

With this Spring being a momentous and emotive time for the distinguished Head dynasty, it was even more fitting that Blue Rose Cen was to achieve her landmark 10 years on from the last of the family's Diane winners, the aforementioned Treve. For Christopher, it was a difficult thing to summarise. “I have a lot of thoughts for my grandparents today and I really hope they are looking down on this,” he said. “Blue Rose Cen is magical. Really. She changed my life. I see no imperfection in her–she is perfect overall, strong physically and with a strong mind. She runs with passion.”

Looking nothing like the group 1 star she has turned out to be when well beaten on her debut, ironically at this venue over an inadequate six furlongs last May, Blue Rose Cen spent the next two months building towards a black-type bow with wins at Saint-Cloud and Clairefontaine but met one marginally too good when the time came in Deauville's Listed Criterium du FEE. A short neck ahead of her that day was Victoria Road (Ire) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}), Ballydoyle's slow-burner who was on his own progressive course heading to eventual glory moments in the G3 Prix de Conde and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

Buoyed rather than bowed by that experience, Blue Rose Cen went to ParisLongchamp four times and with each passing visit grew in stature through the varying demands of the G3 Prix d'Aumale, the Marcel Boussac, G3 Prix de la Grotte and Pouliches. It is back there where she could achieve true immortality in October, just as Allez France and Zarkava did before her and her strong-closing final three furlongs in 35.16 suggests she can pack at least most of her formidable punch in the country's great monument which is staged virtually always on the testing ground on which she has already proven so agile.

Head would not be drawn on a possible Arc bid in the immediate aftermath. “We will have to discuss the rest of the season–in a few days we will have a meeting with Yeguada Centurion to discuss her future, as we had a plan up until the Diane. The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is a new distance and we will have a discussion and make a plan for the rest of the season.”

The Arc may also ultimately be the target for the third-placed 43-1 shot Tasmania (Ger) (Australia {GB}), Gestut Schlenderhan's stamina-endowed homebred who failed by a short head to get the silver medal and whose final three furlongs were run in an eye-catching 34.75 on a stunning black-type debut. It will also be a race to forget for connections of Running Lion (GB) (Roaring Lion), who faded to be last, TDN Rising Star Pensee Du Jour (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) who also bowed out of the action early and ended up 13th, as well as the Pouliches runner-up Lindy (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) who had a prominent position but no answer to the winner's kick as she backtracked to finish eighth.

Pedigree Notes
Blue Rose Cen, who was providing her emerging-force second-season sire with a third Classic, is the only known foal to date out of the G3 Park Express S. and GIII Santa Barbara S. winner Queen Blossom (Ire) (Jeremy), a daughter of the G3 Silver Flash S.-placed Mark Of An Angel (Ire) (Mark Of Esteem {Ire}). She in turn is a granddaughter of the 10-times-winning South African mare Grey Angel (GB) (Kenmare {Fr}), whose career included two of those at group 3 level and a runner-up finish in the G1 Gosforth Park Fillies & Mares Challenge H. This is also the family of the GI Arlington Washington Futurity hero Well Decorated and the prolific sire Distinctive.

Sunday, Chantilly, France
PRIX DE DIANE LONGINES-G1, €1,000,000, Chantilly, 6-18, 3yo, f, 10 1/2fT, 2:05.09, g/s.
1–BLUE ROSE CEN (IRE), 126, f, 3, by Churchill (Ire)
1st Dam: Queen Blossom (Ire) (GSW-Ire & US, $220,859), by Jeremy
2nd Dam: Mark Of An Angel (Ire), by Mark Of Esteem (Ire)
3rd Dam: Dream Time (GB), by Rainbow Quest
O/B-Yeguada Centurion SLU (IRE); T-Christopher Head; J-Aurelien Lemaitre. €571,400. Lifetime Record: 9-7-1-0, €1,250,730. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Never Ending Story (Ire), 126, f, 3, Dubawi (Ire)–Athena (Ire), by Camelot (GB). O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Westerberg; B-Coolmore (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien. €228,600.
3–Tasmania (Ger), 126, f, 3, Australia (GB)–Tusked Wings (Ire), by Adlerflug (Ger). 1ST BLACK TYPE; 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE; 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. O/B-Gestut Schlenderhan (GER); T-Francis-Henri Graffard. €114,300.
Margins: 4, SHD, HF. Odds: 3.20, 16.00, 43.00.
Also Ran: Wise Girl (Fr), Elusive Princess (Fr), Jannah Rose (Ire), Lady Ewelina (GB), Lindy (Fr), Romina Power (Fr), Caroline Street, Novakai (GB), Left Sea (GB), Pensee Du Jour (Ire), Khahira (Fr), Running Lion (GB). Video, sponsored by TVG.


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