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France scores gritty victory at Canterbury

France, a full-brother to Group One winner Peeping, has shaken off a bump in the straight to score a maiden win at Canterbury.

The three-year-old colt won Wednesday’s Schweppes Maiden Plate (1200m), hanging on to win by a half head after a tense battle in the closing stages.

France, an $8 chance, locked horns with leader El Venetian ($3.50) at the 100m mark and came out on top despite El Venetian shifting out and making contact.

Harper’s Choice, who was the $2.35 favourite, chased them home into third.

France’s co-trainer Peter Snowden said the horse had done a good job to overcome the interference.

“He’s just a brilliant horse to work with and well-related,” Snowden said.

“These sorts of horses I’ve had in the past have gone on and become handy horses.”

In France’s other start he finished eighth as a two-year-old at Warwick Farm in June.

The Snowdens tipped him out for a spell and he returned to win a barrier trial at Gosford on November 11.

“He’s improved out of sight this preparation,” Snowden said.

“He’s still quite soft and new but definitely got a bit of talent.”

Jockey Glyn Schofield said France’s mentality was beyond his years.

“He is like a six-year-old gelding,” Schofield said.

“You cannot buy an attitude and that’s what the good horses have.”

France is by Redoute’s Choice out of Miss Marielle, the same parents of the now deceased Peeping who won the Coolmore Classic earlier in the year.

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