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Last Updated: 06/10/13 3:08pm
Dalkala comes out on top in a Longchamp thriller
Christophe Soumillon enjoyed the perfect Arc warm-up when Dalkala led in the last stride to win the Prix de l'Opera.
The colourful Belgian has done his best to remain out of the limelight in the build-up to the big race, but he celebrated in typically charismatic fashion after steering the Alain de Royer-Dupre trained filly - an 8/1 chance with British bookmakers - to victory in the Group One prize.
Godolphin's Tasaday, trained by Andre Fabre, looked to have put her stamp on the race when hitting the front a furlong out, but Dalkala inched away at her advantage all the way to the winning post.
Royer-Dupre said: "She's a very experienced filly and she tries as hard as she can. She's quite a complicated filly, and taking her by plane to the Breeders' Cup would be a big risk for her."
Dalkala hails from the family of multiple Group One winners Dalakhani and Daylami, and the Aga Khan admitted it would be a gamble to keep her in training next year.
He said: "In my experience, every time you leave a filly in training at five it hasn't been an advantage. She's very important to our breeding operation.
"She has run over a longer trip, so I didn't have any question that she would not get to the end of the course."
Godolphin's racing manager Simon Crisford admitted that such a narrow defeat was hard to take, but has high hopes for Tasaday in the future.
He said: "It was disappointing to have been beaten on the line like that but she has run a huge race.
"We'll talk to Andre about what to do now - I wouldn't think she would run again this season - but we'd like to win a Group One with her."
Thistle Bird, trained by Roger Charlton, stayed on late to grab third place.
"I'm so proud of her," said Charlton. "She ran all the way to the line and that was her last race as she is now retiring. James [Doyle] said if they'd just gone a stride quicker, she might have won."