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Duty handed a 'weird' double

Special Duty again benefited from the intervention of the stewards as she was awarded a second Classic in the space of 14 days with Longchamp officials promoting her to first place in the Poule D'Essai Des Pouliches.

Just a fortnight after being handed the 1000 Guineas by the Newmarket stewards after first-past-the-post Jacqueline Quest carried her right through the closing stages, Criquette Head-Maarek's filly landed the French equivalent in similar circumstances.

Stephane Pasquier brought the 6/4 favourite from the rear of the field but only started his move after Liliside drifted left causing interference to the Aga Khan's Rosanara and Andre Fabre's Full Steam.

Brian Meehan's sixth-home Lady Of The Desert was another to suffer several bouts of rough racing and her effort culminated with Kieren Fallon having to snatch her up 50 yards from the line after a gap between Liliside and stablemate Baine disappeared.

Liliside crossed the line with a head advantage over Special Duty but after a 75-minute deliberation, the stewards ruled that the interference caused by the winner was sufficient to take the race away from Francois Rohaut's runner.

They then named Special Duty the winner with Rohaut's Baine second, Joanna third, Rosanara fourth, Lady Of The Desert fifth and demoted Liliside to sixth in a race in which the first six over the line were covered by around a length.

The Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned Special Duty now ranks alongside Head-Maarek's Ravinella after she completed the English-French 1000 Guineas double some 22 years ago.

Teddy Grimthorpe, Abdullah's racing manager, commented: "This is the weirdest feeling. The Prince likes to win his races outright so again this is an extraordinary feeling."

Head said: "Amazing -- that is the word. It feels very good and to win two Group Ones is incredible.

"The stewards have made the correct decision as I got the race, but it was the right decision overall as Liliside stopped the Aga Khan horse from being closer.

"I was there and I was lucky the rules are that if a horse stops another from closing, they are disqualified and that is what has happened. It is tough to lose a Group One like that and the more I saw the film, the more I thought the winner would lose it.

"It is always a shame in these big races and leaves me with a bad feeling."

While the inquiry had been on-going, Head commented: "What do you do when you're drawn 10 and you don't want to go in front? I think she was the best filly in the race and if she had got a better draw, she would have been very close to the 'winner'.

"I think she deserves a vacation now so Royal Ascot is unlikely but we may consider sending her to Deauville."


Rohaut landed the race twice last decade with his 2006 winner Tie Black being awarded the race in the stewards' room at the expense of the Abdullah-owned Price Tag.

The trainer said: "They have placed us behind the Fallon filly and I do not understand why. We did knock the Aga Khan filly but we didn't touch Fallon. I was not surprised to be disqualified but I am really surprised to be placed sixth.

"I thought Baine was the unlucky horse of the race and should have won. I don't know what we will do with the two of them now but they will probably have a break and then one or both of them will go to the Prix d'Astarte."

Liliside's emotional owner, Anthony Forde, said during the inquiry: "This is worse than winning. I don't know how the result will go but she is a good filly. I came here thinking she would be third, fourth or fifth as she had never run on dry ground like this before and has only won on heavy."

Meehan was another ruing his luck and believes Lady Of The Desert would have taken a hand in the finish if being granted a clear passage.

He said: "If all had gone right under these circumstances, then I think she would have won. She was stopped three times and at a vital time of the race, she was nearly brought down.

"We need to discuss plans but I imagine Royal Ascot will be next."

Lady Of The Desert's owner Jaber Abdullah has tasted defeat plenty of times at Longchamp with Youmzain finishing runner-up in the Arc de Triomphe on three occasions, and he was philosophical in defeat.

He added: "We're always unlucky at Longchamp. Kieren said she was stopped during the race but accidents do happen and we know we have a good filly."