Blue Rose Cen Thrills With Fourth Group 1 Victory
A return to the scene of her first Group 1 triumph saw Blue Rose Cen (3f Churchill - Queen Blossom, by Jeremy) back to her brilliant best in Sunday’s Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp.
The Christopher Head-trained bay announced herself as a top-class filly when winning the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac by five lengths and returned to win her first three starts this season, including back-to-back Group 1 wins. The Yeguada Centurion homebred subsequently suffered trouble in running in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes, in which she finished a close fourth, before taking fifth on her first start over a mile and a half in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille.
Sent off favourite on her return to ten furlongs, she led in the early stages before settling behind the leaders and was asked to quicken approaching the two furlong marker. Running on well under Aurelien Lemaitre, she led a furlong from home and was driven out to deny Jackie Oh (Galileo) by a neck, with another length back to Lumiere Rock (Saxon Warrior) in third.
“It's incredible,” the winning trainer said after the race. “This filly has brought us so much. She has had a long and tough season, and every time she shows up. I'm delighted to be lucky enough to train her. For her to come back and win on Arc day is really something else.”
Head mentioned next year’s programme, hinting that Blue Rose Cen will stay in training, while on more immediate plans, he commented, “I'll talk to her owner about whether that's it for the year. The Breeders' Cup is a possibility, but I have to talk to the Yeguada Centurion team.”
Four-time Group 1 winner Blue Rose Cen heads a terrific season for her sire Churchill, who is responsible for six Group winners in 2023. She was also one of two Group 1 winners by the sire last year, with Vadeni (Churchill) registering a pair of top-flight victories.