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Marco Botti sets sights on French Classic gold with Folgaria

Folgaria will be tasked with maintaining her unbeaten record in the French 1000 Guineas following her poignant victory at Newbury on Saturday

Marco Botti
Image: Marco Botti's Folgaria will head to the French 1000 Guineas

A trip to ParisLongchamp next month firmly on the agenda for the emotional Fred Darling winner, Folgaria looked impressive after she beat Regal Jubilee by a neck.

A truly family affair, Folgaria, the daughter of Due Diligence, had a 100 per cent record during her two-year-old season when trained by Stefano Botti in Italy and has only recently switched to join his brother Marco Botti in Newmarket ahead of her three-year-old campaign.

Sent off 5-1 in the hands of Hollie Doyle for her UK debut in the Fred Darling Stakes, she marked herself as a filly still on the rise with a performance full of class to gamely score by a neck from John and Thady Gosden's Regal Jubilee.

It has been a tough time for the Newmarket-based handler and his team after the death of jockey Stefano Cherchi in a fall in Australia last month, with Botti not at Newbury on Saturday as he attended his compatriot's funeral in Sardinia.

However, the trainer was proudly watching on from the continent as Folgaria successfully flew the flag for Italian racing in the Group Three event.

"It was a nice performance and she did everything right in Italy, won all her races, but you never know what to expect, to be honest," said Botti.

"I thought she won in good style despite the race not panning out how we were hoping. We were in stall one and although it wasn't a big field, Hollie had plenty of daylight and we wanted to take her back a little bit and then she had to manoeuvre a little bit on the left and battled on.

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"You could say the runner-up was a touch unlucky but at the same time, Folgaria won with a little bit left in hand.

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"I think she will come on for the run and she hasn't had a racecourse gallop or anything, that was a performance on what we have been able to do in the mornings."

Folgaria can be backed at 12-1 for the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at ParisLongchamp on May 19, with the opportunity to race around a bend cited as the main reason a trip to the French capital has been chosen over Newmarket and the British equivalent.

And having provided the Botti operation with a welcome tonic with her brave Newbury success, hopes are high the three-year-old can continue being a standard-bearer for the stable throughout the campaign.

"I expect she will come on a fair bit and there is no reason why a mile will not suit her, especially if we went to France where she will race round a bend," added Botti.

"There is plenty to look forward to throughout the season and at the moment the French Guineas is the plan. We always thought we would aim there rather than the English Guineas as simply a mile with a bend is what we think will suit her better.

"It's been a tough time the last few weeks and when you get a three-year-old of that calibre and everything goes to plan, it is just a boost for the yard and for everyone involved.

"It just gives everyone a little bit of confidence and our horses have been running well during the winter but these are the races you want to be thereabouts in and we know we have a filly like her with lots of potential."

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