Simona wins the Group 3 Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud

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Simona gave owner-breeders Nigel and Caroline Elwes victory at what is the traditional start of the European turf season by landing the Group 3 Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud.

Simona is one of seven foals produced by Monava, a winning Wildenstein mare bought by Lillingston Bloodstock for €35,000 from Arqana at the end of her career in 2010.

A 35th stakes winner for her sire Siyouni, the four-year-old has been brought along steadily by Francis Graffard but looked much improved when running away with a conditions race at Compiegne just 11 days ago.

Leading all the way under Alexis Badel, she stuck on to score by a length and three-quarters from Spirit Of Nelson, with Andre Fabre and Godolphin’s favourite Soleil Marin proving a disappointment.

Nigel Elwes is well-known in racing circles as a former chairman of both the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Racing Welfare, as well as serving with the British Racing School, European Breeders’ Fund and on the boards of several tracks.

Although more active with runners in France nowadays, the couple had useful horses in training with the late John Dunlop including Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Santa Sophia, dam of their Listed-placed Sibilance.

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