Castle Lady provides Godolphin Classic double at Longchamp
Unbeaten Castle Lady made it a French Classic double for Godolphin when winning the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches over a mile at Longchamp on the afternoon of Sunday, 12 May.
The three-year-old Shamardal filly, who did not race as a two-year-old, was having only her third start after impressive victories in a newcomers’ race on Polytrack at Chantilly in March and the G3 Prix de la Grotte at Longchamp on Sunday, 14 April. She was then supplemented for the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.
Castle Lady, trained by Henri-Alex Pantall, raced prominently and a bit keenly initially before being held up in fourth towards the outside of the 10 participants. The pace was steady and the Godolphin filly went back to fifth before being switched out to make a challenge with a quarter-mile remaining.
She came through well under Mickael Barzalona to establish a narrow lead before the furlong-marker and ran on to just hold off the strong challenge of Commes by a nose in 1m 40.91s on heavy turf.
Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin said: “What a day for Godolphin.
“Castle Lady did amazingly well to win - she has done nothing but progress all year and there is some margin for further improvement.
“She is a very straightforward filly and we will sit down and discuss all options for her.
“However, it is probable that a mile will be her limit and therefore the Coronation Stakes (G1, 1m, Friday, 21 June) at Royal Ascot could be her next race.
“The trainer was unfazed about running Castle Lady on today’s heavy going, but her pedigree and action suggest she will appreciate better ground.”
Mickael Barzalona added: “She made big improvement from her first to second run and did the same again before this race.
“I had confidence today, but it is always hard to know if she could make another step up in class.
“She has got a great mentality, a beautiful action and a big heart. She is a very good filly.
“Castle Lady was a bit green when she hit the front today – when she picked up I thought I was going to win easily. I think there is a lot more to come from her.
“This victory is great for Godolphin.”