What A Way For Fonteyn To Break Her Maiden

Shedding a maiden tag is always an important milestone but it can come in many different ways. One of the most impressive is when that comes in pattern company, either starting out or making the step up in grade to gain a first win. Fonteyn was yet to win but she was certainly not an unexpected victor when she took the 1m Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes (Listed) at York.

The daughter of Farhh comes from a classy family, owned and bred by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum. She always looked like a filly that would appreciate a bit of time but she did show enough as a juvenile to hit the track late last season. Two runs produced placed efforts with clear progression and Fonteyn certainly looked a nice prospect moving forward to her 3yo career.

Having wintered well, Fonteyn came to hand early on which meant she could make her return at Newmarket’s Craven meeting. After running a little bit fresh, she was narrowly beaten by a subsequent listed placed filly. With the pair pulling over 8 lengths clear, the first two looked highly promising for the year ahead.

It was obvious that Fonteyn was a winning waiting to happen, but after discussions the plan was made to step her up in grade. If she ran to form then the listed grade should not be an issue and also there was no question that she could comfortably take a maiden or novice race. Now she would face 11 rivals with half of them having a higher rating but Fonteyn was one of the least exposed in the field and likely improver. This was the same story with the favourite and it would become the story of the race.

Andrea Atzeni was in the saddle for his boss and had the same issue as last time out through the early stages. With the field settling down, Fonteyn took a keen hold as they looked to settle in behind the leaders. Thankfully this didn’t last for too long and the sharp pace allowed her to settle around fifth position. They were not hanging about and raced quickly through the first furlong which took them into the bend.

York is renowned for being fair and the long home straight gives horses plenty of time to find their position to challenge. The field headed for home and entered the second half of the race with plenty separating first to last. Fonteyn had tracked the leaders throughout and had plenty of options as the leader edged towards the centre of the track. The frantic gallop was certainly testing the field and moving inside the 3f pole the back markers were out of the contest.

Andrea was winding his filly up a long way from home but Fonteyn was lengthening all the time and getting into her stride. Although coming under pressure, Fonteyn was not getting the full drive as she gained momentum. The leader had really set a strong gallop and at the 2f pole, she paid for it. Now looking like a sitting duck, Fonteyn was coming through to reel her in.

The race had revolved around the well touted favourite who began to storm down the outside. Fonteyn held the lead heading into the final furlong but was joined by Grand Dame. Neck and neck the fillies matched each with every stride. Andrea now asked for everything and he got it. Fonteyn was very willing and was proving too strong for the favourite. Although she couldn’t get rid of her, she did have a narrow lead and that would prove enough. Seeing out every yard, Fonteyn grabbed pattern success with a brave performance and gained her first career win.

It was a fantastic result all round and Fonteyn showed a great attitude. There is still plenty of learning to do from her which shows that there could be a lot more to come. She was keen early but that didn’t cost her late on, although it is a trait which we would like to get out of her. It could be that a better race may be ideal for this and Fonteyn will be taking that step up in grade. She has plenty of pace but sees the trip out well so looks easy to position within a race. The obvious calls were for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot but she currently is not in the race. Whether that is the next step will be discussed but Group level will certainly be it. Fonteyn is a lovely prospect and her ability has barely scratched the surface.

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