SIA Cup rider Pasquier wins French 2,000 Guineas

KARAKONTIE won the French 2,000 Guineas on Sunday at Longchamp, handing victory to English trainer Jonathan Pease and home jockey Stephane Pasquier.

In a thrilling duel, the winner was put under huge pressure by the gallant Prestige Vendome.

But Pasquier dug deep to lead 6-4 shot Karakontie to victory and boost the horse's chances ahead of next month's Epsom Derby.

Prestige Vendome (14-1) held on for second, with 66-1 outsider Pornichet taking third.

"Most of all, bravo to the horse because the rain didn't help his cause, but he is tough. It was a good performance and he has strengthened up over the winter," Alan Cooper, the racing manager to winning owners, the Niarchos family, told the Racing Post.

Pasquier will be riding SMOKING SUN, also owned by the Niarchos family, in Sunday's $3 million Singapore Airlines International Cup over 2,000m at Kranji.

AVENIR CERTAIN claimed the 1,000 Guineas with Gregory Benoist in the saddle of the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained horse, but only after surviving a lengthy stewards inquiry.

Avenir Certain was a 14-1 winner ahead of fellow home hopes, Veda (9-1) and Xcellence (6-1), respectively. -AFP.