The record time in the Abu Dhabi Poule d’Essai des Pouliches has been held since 2013 by Flotilla, who ran the 1.600m of the race in 1’34’’77. It should be emphasised that this time was run at Longchamp: the Poules d’Essai was transferred to Deauville in 2016 and 2017 due to the renovation works at the Bois de Boulogne racetrack.
Number of runners
With 18 runners, the 2017 edition is, after those of 2013 (20) and 1912 (19), one of the largest fields since the creation of the race in 1840. One has to go back to 1986 and 1924 to find the same number of competitors.
Four fillies will line up as yet unbeaten: Via Ravenna, Cristal Fizz, Delectation and Wajnah.
A certain Madelia, who did not run at 2, managed to win this race having only debuted in April. She was still unbeaten the night after the Poule d’Essai when beating the duo of Beaune and Durtal who could not be split on the line. She then backed that up when winning the Prix de Diane 1977.
Last year, La Cressonnière came into the race unbeaten as did Avenir Certain, who won the previous year, and like nine other winners of this race in the last 30 years.
The road to the race
Since the creation of the Prix Imprudence, five of it’s victors went on to lift the Poule d’Essai : Solitude, Elusive Wave, Ervedya. As for Miesque and Ravinella, they did not just win the Poule but also, fifteen days earlier, win the 1.000 Guineas at Newmarket. Via Ravenna was this year’s winner of the prep race at Maisons-Laffitte.
Since it’s inauguration, twenty winners of the Prix de la Grotte have gone on to confirm in the Poule d’Essai. Of these, six went on to win the Prix de Diane next time out: Golden Lilac, Zarkava, Gazala, La Sega, Apollonia. Divine Proportions also is part of this illustrious group, a filly who carried the colours of the Niarchos Family and trained by Pascal Bary, as is Senga, winner of the Prix de la Grotte 2017.
Trained by Eric Saint-Martin, Festive was supplemented on Thursday. This is also the case for Torrestrella, who won in 2004. She is the only supplemented filly ever to have won the race.
A victorious seasonal debut
Two English fillies are making their seasonal debut in this Poule: Asidious Alexander and Cristal Fizz. Pearl Bracelet won this race on her seasonal debut in 1989, and she had only run once at 2 years old, for a third place. Flotilla made a winning comeback in the 2013 edition after her exploits in the Breeders’Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa-Anita.
After a win in the Critérium des Pouliches, a certain Allez France took her Poule on her comeback, as did Dictaway, winner in 1955. Coronation made a victorious return to compétition in the Poule (sharing her success with her stable companion, Galgala, also on her comeback) before going down to Musidora in the Oaks. In the Autumn, she won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The winners of the following two runnings of the race, Corejada and Djelfa were also having their seasonal debut for Marcel Boussac.
The German trainer Andreas Wölher inherited a filly from England in April, Delectation. For her seasonal debut, she won the Schwarzgold Rennen (Gr.3 and ex German Poule d’Essai) over a mile at Cologne. To this day, the French Guineas has never been won by a German filly. The only forgeron winners come from England (4) or Ireland (the home of Rose Gypsy, trained by Aidan O’Brien).