Emirates Poules d’Essai des Poulains et des Pouliches – Quotes from the winners’ entourage



The Emirates Poule d'Essai des Poulains went to the colt ST MARK'S BASILICA, trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien, ridden by the Basque jockey Ioritz Mendizabal, and a son of the French stallion Siyouni. Although trained in Ireland, St Mark's Basilica was born in France.

The winner, having the finished the 2020 season as the top European two-year-old, achieved some feat: as he had not raced since October 10 when taking the Dewhurst Stakes!
ST MARK'S BASILICA, having tracked the favourite SEALIWAY, made the difference in the last 100 metres. He outpointed COLOSSEO, trained at Maisons-Laffitte by Italian handler Gianluca Bietolini, by a length and three-quarters. The strong finishing BREIZH EAGLE, unlucky during the race, came with a wet sail to take third at the death. He is a credit to trainer Joël Boisnard - a professional based at Senonnes-Pouancé. POLICY OF TRUTH, the winner of the Prix de Fontainebleau, the main prep race, was a close fourth.

What the principals said:

Ioritz Mendizabal (the jockey de ST MARK’S BASILICA, 1st)
«It's an incredible opportunity to be able to ride for Aidan O'Brien. As he is able to successfully tune a colt to win a group one race first time out! That's why he's the best trainer in the world. It took me a little while to get a position. I was able to get on the tail of Sealiway, who was one of the leading fancies. He gave us a tow to the 300m mark. My mount really was a cut above the rest! »
Aidan O’Brien (the trainer of ST MARK’S BASILICA, 1st)
«I'm delighted with him. The plan last year was to go to the [Jean-Luc] Lagardere but that obviously didn't work out and that's why he ended up going to the Dewhurst. Wembley was going to the Dewhurst initially so that's how everything [got} changed around at the end of last season. He quickened very well. We'll see what we'll do now - he has the option of Royal Ascot {St James' Palace Stakes} or coming back to France for the Prix du Jockey-Club. The original plan with him was to go for the French Guineas, before returning to France for the French Derby, so we'll see. He'd been working lovely. You saw the way he progressed last year. They all couldn't go to Newmarket. They were all trained for Newmarket, but we had to split them up. When he was supposed to go to France last year, we said we'd stick that way. John, Michael and Derrick thought it was better to go to France with him. »
Gianluca Bietolini (the trainer of COLOSSEO, 2nd)
«I’ve lost my voice! I'm very happy. I knew that the horse was going to be a hundred per cent today, and he proved it. He is a horse that is a somewhat difficult to prepare because we need to get a lot of work into him in the mornings: and he’s endowed with a really impressive physique. Last time out the ground was too fast for him: as he’s a horse that likes very, very soft ground. He’s an atypical US bred! The give in the ground was a plus as was the draw. He was in optimal condition today and I knew that he would give it his all. The only thing that I was sure of was that he would run very well against his fellow French hopefuls. He was beaten by a very good horse. He is a horse for distances ranging from 1,400m (7f) to 1,600m (1m), the mile being his maximum trip. We will mull matters over with his owners before deciding what to do next. His work rider Anaïs, who rides him every morning, deserves a bit pat on the back. »
Joël Boisnard (the trainer of BREIZH EAGLE, 3rd)
«He ran freely during the race but still ran blinder despite his inexperience. He's a colt on an upward curve, and one that is still going to progress. He needs to sharpen up. I think he will be kept to a mile. The ground didn't bother him but he will certainly be even better on good ground. In his last piece of work at Senonnes you could see that he was grinding away on those parts of the track which were soft. It wasn't heavy ground today. »
Group 1 –3-y-old colts - 1.600 metres (1m) - 600.000 €
1st           ST MARK’S BASILICA
                (Siyouni & Cabaret (Galileo)
                Trainer: A. O’Brien
Jockey: I. Mendizabal
                Owners: D. Smith, Mme J. Magnier & M. Tabor
Breeder: R. Scarborough
2nd               COLOSSEO
                (Street Boss & Alluvial Gold (Danehill Dancer)
                Trainer : G. Bietolini
Jockey : T. Bachelot
                Owner: A. Frassetto
Breeder: T C Stables
3rd           BREIZH EAGLE
                (Bow Creek & Breizh Touch (Country Reel)
                Trainer : J. Boisnard
Jockey : A. Roussel
                Owner : G. Augustin-Normand & Mme R. Perron
Breeder : Haras des Évées & D. Cherdo
Distances :  1 3/4l -  SHT HD - HD. (12 runners). Time: 1’40’’15 


The filly COEURSAMBA gave her trainer Jean-Claude Rouget his fifth win in the Emirates Poule d’Essai des Pouliches. His stable is split between the training centres of Pau in the South of France, and Deauville on the Normandy coast. This daughter of sire The Wow Signal was ridden by the Italian jockey Cristian Demuro, and carries the colours of her Qatari owner, Abdullah bin Fahad Al Attiyah. She was bred in Normandy by Julie and Francine Mestrallet. She came to the race following a third place in the Prix du Louvre (on the 22nd April at ParisLongchamp) for her seasonal reappearance.

COEURSAMBA had a perfect race, travelling between KING’S HARLEQUIN and the Irish runner MOTHER EARTH in the closing stages. She flew away in the final meters, pulling a length and a half clear of MOTHER EARTH. KENNELLA, who is trained in Chantilly by Nicolas Caullery (and also his first runner at this level) took an excellent third place, a short head in front of SWEET LADY.
The reactions

Jean-Claude Rouget (trainer of COEURSAMBA, 1st)
"Steward’s enquiry in the Arc, steward’s enquiry in the Poule... indeed (laughs)! But I wasn’t too worried for this one. The filly was in great shape. We gave her the entire winter off and sent her to the stud. We couldn’t get her back in very early, but that didn’t worry me too much as she ran quite a lot as a 2-year-old. I picked the Prix du Louvre (Class 1) for her seasonal comeback, with orders to give her a gentle race. Everything went well for her today: a good draw, in good physical condition… She has experience, and that matters in these kinds of races. We are very happy. It was somewhat unknown territory coming into the race, as it was a very open competition.  Before the race I said to Paul Basquin (Editor’s note: racing manager for the owner) that we could be first or second, or quickly find ourselves seventh or eighth! We are very pleasantly surprised. I was surprised by the acceleration that she showed – twice! She showed double the acceleration of some very good fillies. It’s interesting for the rest of the season to come. I didn’t enter her in the Coronation Stakes (Gr1), due to the complications caused by Covid. We will see what the next step is after a discussion with her connections. I don’t think that she will run in the Prix de Diane (Gr1) as she has limited stamina, but Ascot is a possibility. »

Cristian Demuro (jockey of COEURSAMBA, 1st)
“You always have to have belief! We have a great run. She came back very well from her last race. Today was just a dream. I think it’s Jean-Claude Rouget that makes the difference! She stepped up to the distance really well. She accelerated brilliantly and the low draw was a definite advantage. The open stretch helped her too.”
Nicolas Caullery (trainer of KENNELLA, 3rd)
“We came to the race hoping for a good place, and I would have been very happy to take third before the off! The Poule d'Essai is a very particular race. This was her first time running over 1,600m but she is such a valiant, brave, and kind filly… She came into the race in great condition: she worked with Fort Payne and she is just behind him. Sébastien Maillot rode a lovely race, he rode her intelligently. We have had the Poule in our minds since her place in the Prix Miesque last year and we stuck to the program. In the Imprudence, for her seasonal bow, she was a bit unlucky in running but she finished with a magnificent action: another stride and she was third and with a bit more luck, not far from the winner. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a quiet prep rather than a hard race. I am delighted for her connections, it’s a great story of friendship. They have been very loyal, and I also have her 2-year-old sister in training. She’s a really nice filly!

Francis Teboul (owner of SWEET LADY, 4th)
"A third place would have felt like a win for us. So to be so close to the podium is a bit frustrating! That said, the filly has run an exceptional race. The jockey rode her remarkably well. We were beaten by the best. For an owner like us, to run in the Poule d'Essai doesn’t happen often! She will carry on running, and should be capable of placing, or even winning, a Group 1. She’s an exceptional filly, with a magnificent pedigree. Paul Nataf bought her at the sales. And congratulations to the winner. This is sport. The best has won. »
The official result
Group 1 – 3-year-old fillues – 1,600 meters – €500,000
1st           CŒURSAMBA
                (The Wow Signal & Maréchale, by Anabaa)
                Trainer: J.-C. Rouget
                Jockey: C. Demuro
                Owner: A. bin Fahad Al-Attiyah
                Breeders : Ms J. Mestrallet, Mrs F. Mestrallet & Mrs A. Cousin Mestrallet
2e                  MOTHER EARTH
                (Zoffany & Many Colours, by Green Desert)
                Trainer: A.-P. O’Brien
                Jockey: C. Soumillon
                Owners: D. Smith, Mme J. Magnier, M. Tabor
                Breeder:  Grenane House Stud
3e            KENNELLA
                (Kendargent & Ella Diva, by Heliostatic)
                Trainer: N. Caullery
                Jockey: S. Maillot
                Owners: D.-R. Lodge & N. Campos
                Breeders: GAEC Campos
Distance: 5/4 – Short head - Head. (13 runners). Time: 1’39’’28
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