sport

Certain hits them for six

Dual Classic winner Avenir Certain extended her unbeaten run to six with a smooth success in the Shadwell Prix de la Nonette at Deauville.

The Le Havre filly boasts a perfect career record and wasn't extended on this drop to Group Two level as her trainer, Jean-Claude Rouget, prepares her for a tilt at the for which she is a 14/1 chance with Sky Bet.

A winner of a maiden and a conditions race as a juvenile, she won another conditions race on her reappearance before being stepped straight up to the top level in the Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas).

She duly won that and the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) the following month to earn herself a short summer lay-off.

Settling well in midfield as stablemate Crisolles made the running, Gregory Benoist was able to position Avenir Certain where he wanted and the pair never looked like doing anything other than winning.

Main market rival and Group One winner Vazira came under pressure halfway down the straight, posting a lacklustre effort, meaning that Avenir Certain was the sole challenger to Crisolles and she duly breezed past to score by a length and a half without being asked for maximum effort.

Roger Charlton's Be My Gal weakened tamely to finish last of the seven runners, with Pat Shanahan's Maid Of The Glens just in front of her, but jockey, Frankie Dettori, had enjoyed some success earlier on the card when successful aboard Richard Hannon's Smaih.

Rouget said: "Avenir Certain is an extraordinary filly, a great champion."

Avenir Certain is now set to head straight for the Arc, instead of running in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp on September 14.

Rouget does, however, accept the filly is not guaranteed to get the mile-and-and-a-half trip of the big one on October 5.

He said: "We are coming to the end of the season and you have to make choices. If she was running in the Vermeille I wouldn't have run her in this race.

"My aim is to bring her to the Arc fresh. I am not convinced that she is a true 2,400-metre (mile-and-a-half) filly but her class could compensate for that.

"We have nothing to lose. If she is beaten we can say it is because she didn't stay and if she wins, well, it's a bit early for that.

"We have nothing to lose and everything to win. If she is beaten we will keep her over a 2,000-metre (mile-and-a-quarter) programme as a four-year-old.

"I think she will stay in training, even if she wins the Arc, but that is a conversation to have with the owners. It is very rare to get a horse like her so you need to make the most of it, we will worry about breeding later.

"She is a true-race filly, just like Goldikova or Moonlight Cloud."

Sky Bet's spokesman Michael Shinners said: "It's well known that three-year-old fillies have an exceptional record in the Arc and we appear to have two outstanding contenders this year in Avenir Certain and Taghrooda.

"She's still unbeaten and couldn't have been more impressive but tougher tasks do lie in wait."