Via Sistina to take direct route to Opera

Via Sistina will head straight for the Prix de l’Opera on Arc weekend following her narrow defeat at Deauville.

So impressive when winning the Group Two Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket in the spring, George Boughey’s star mare subsequently struck Group One gold in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

The five-year-old was out of luck when dropped back from 10 furlongs to a mile in last month’s Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, but looked set to double her top-level tally on her return to a mile and a quarter in the Prix Jean Romanet, only to be denied in the final stride by Andre Fabre’s Mqse De Sevigne.

While frustrated by the nose defeat, Boughey was delighted with Via Sistina’s performance and is now targeting a return to France on the first Sunday in October.

“We were obviously delighted to see her produce what was arguably another career-best really,” he said.

“The Fabre filly looks progressive and I think we were arguably unlucky in defeat. She was in front a long time as we just wanted to have a clear run at it.

“I think we’ll go straight to the Opera on Arc day and I think we’ll probably ride her with a little bit more patience. We’re always learning in this game and I think just holding on to her a bit longer and using that wicked turn of foot over that trip will suit.

“The Opera has been a long-term target for a long time. The Romanet was the immediate target and is possibly the one that got away, but we’re very proud of her.

“She’s finished first, second and third in three Group Ones this year, having won a Group Two beforehand, so she’s been a real star for us.”

Three weeks after the Prix de l’Opera, Via Sistina could make an appearance on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot, where she is doubly engaged.

She could take on the colts in the Qipco Champion Stakes or step up to a mile and a half for the British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes.

Boughey is in no rush to nail his colours to either mast at this stage, adding: “Hopefully we’ve got another run or possibly two if she turns up on Champions Day. I think it would be very exciting to see her run on very soft ground as it usually is at Ascot.

“We’ve put her in the Champion Stakes and the Fillies And Mares and I know we ran her over a mile in the Falmouth, but if it did look the right spot for her, I would be interested to see her dropped out stone cold last over a mile and a half on soft ground and waited with.

“She’s by Fastnet Rock out of a Galileo mare, so there’s a chance she might stay, and the fillies’ division would look notably weaker than the Champion Stakes.”

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