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Gifted Girl (Azamour) 2nd Princess Elizabeth Stakes Gr.3
01 Jun 2013

Gifted Girl seen to the left, fighting it out to the finish with Thistle Bird

Epsom's Investec Derby Festival got underway with the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes contest for fillies and mares in which Thistle Bird proved too strong for her eight rivals.
 
She won by three-quarters of a length from the Paul Cole-trained Gifted Girl (Azamour), with Ladys First, representing Richard Fahey's Yorkshire yard, a length back in third.
 
Alan Spence, who owns Gifted Girl, said: "The horses are running well - we're enjoying a winner or two per week at the moment, so long may it last.
 
"This filly likes Ascot so could go for the Royal Hunt Cup next, but that's not definite yet. There is also the Group Two race for fillies before the Royal Hunt Cup [now known as the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, formerly the Windsor Forest Stakes], although she would have to be supplemented for that."
 
Five-year-old Thistle Bird looked better than ever when getting up by three-quarters of a length under James Doyle.  Trainer Roger Charlton now plans to aim the mare at Royal Ascot.

 
"She was a bit lit up when she ran at Newmarket last time but was more relaxed today and travelled better," said Charlton.
 
"She has been amazingly consistent. She will be a really nice filly to breed from - when you get a filly as tough as that, sound as that and consistent as that. She won three Listed races last year, put up some good performances and she was maybe a bit fresh first time out this year. She deserved to win a Group race and I am so pleased for her. 
  
She deserves this. She was very consistent last year and I am pleased that she won the way she did. She stays quite well and I always felt that Richard Hughes would come back to me.  I didn't want to take it up too early but get her rolling at the same time. Her turn of foot is not instant - she gradually picks up - but she did it well. They went a nice clip, which suited, and it all turned out to be very straightforward. 
 
"She was improving with every run last year and I think we are going to have a bit more fun with her,
 
"The ground is on the slow side - it's not soft but it's good to soft. I would imagine that it will be good ground by tomorrow but my filly handled it well."

Frankie Dettori was out of luck on his first ride back following a six-month suspension as his mount, Beatrice Aurore, finished last in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by Investec) at Epsom, the opening race on Investec Ladies' Day.
 
The ebullient Italian said: "It's great to be back. I've got two more chances so you never know.
 
"I was nervous on my way to Epsom and I got stuck in traffic coming here so that didn't help. I eventually got out of the car and ran the last three furlongs otherwise I don't think I'd have got here in time!
 
"It's great just to be back and it feels a bit like I've never been away."
 
The race was eventually won by Thistle Bird who fought off the challenge of Gifted Girl to win by three-quarters of a length.