Triumph for the English raider Laurens

Laurens (Siyouni) won the Prix de Diane this Sunday at Chantilly, a shining example of Karl Burke’s brilliant training as well as Francois-Melchior Mathet’s French breeding. The filly had already triumphed in the Gurkha Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary (Gr1), accomplishing an impressive one two, not been achieved since Sarafina in 2010. Laurens showed great toughness to hold off Musis Amica’s strong sprint for the line, who had travelled off the bridle for the majority of the race, as well as that of Homerique (Exchange rate). The Irish raider Happily (Galileo), who weaved through the runners along the rail, came a close 4th ahead of With You (Dansili).

Comments on the race

1st – Laurens: She jumped well, despite her draw of 12, to sit up with the leaders. She travelled on the outside of the pacemaker Luminate and took a hold in the early stages. She was still travelling with plenty of running before coming on the attack turning into the straight. She battled bravely to take the lead three hundred metres from the line and she replied decisively to her attacking rivals. 

2nd – Musis Amica : Very badly away, she was very cold throughout the race, in last position, several lengths from the rest of the running pack. She made a remarkable effort in the final straight to pass by the majority of the field and take second place.  

3rd – Homérique : Jumped well, and travelled amongst the front-runners, somewhat keen, as there was not enough pace for her. She produced a great effort in the home straight, looking for a moment like the winner before finally finishing in third.  

4th – Happily : Initially travelled behind the leaders, then in mid-division. She had a good run in the straight, coming up the rail to fight for the win. She had to settle for fourth place in a photo finish.  

5th – With You : Travelled in mid-division before coming with a great acceleration in the straight to battle for a place. Despite a staunch defence, she had to be content with fifth place. 

6th – Lady Athena : Set off settled in her rhythm, in the second half of the field before coming with a good run in the straight to finish sixth.  

7th – Shahnaza : Travelled mid-division alongside Happily. She came up to join the leaders halfway down the straight, but couldn't hold on in the final hundred meters against the attacking horses. 

8th – Soustraction : Sat towards the rear, came up the middle of the track with her run to join the leaders, but then just stayed in her action. 

9th – Barkaa : Travelled three out from the rail, and never threatened in the straight.  

10th – Castellar : Jumped well, and travelled in behind the leader Luminate, looking a little crisp. Tried to come up the rail, but when she found the space, she wasn't able to improve. 

11th – Amazing Lips : Travelled in the second half of the field without ever entering the mix in the closing stages. 

12th – Luminate : Made a big effort to come and take command of the race from her draw in stall 1. Weakened quickly in the home straight.

13th – Assonance : Travelled in mid-division without ever making up ground in the straight. 

Reactions from connections

Karl Burke (Trainer of Laurens, 1st)

“Laurens was extremely well ridden. Her jockey never panicked. He let her galop in her actions. She’s a fantastic horse, a fighter. She was maybe underestimated, but after everything she has accomplished… Her toughness came through today. It is the victory of a team. Great races are not won without a great team. And we thank Lucy, who takes care of her every morning.”

Patrick-Joseph McDonald (Laurens’s jockey, 1st)

She was magnificent. She did everything I asked of her. I have been waiting my whole career for a filly like her. A few years ago, I was still a jumps jockey, but I always had faith in myself. In this field, both the horses and the people must trust you. And today, I would like to thank everyone who put their trust in me. It has meant a lot to me.”

John Dance (Owner of Laurens, 1st)

She is a talented filly with a huge heart. She is simply incredible. The final 2 furlongs were hard for me to watch… my heart skipped a beat. But she is so strong.. she always beats her competition. This week, she wasn’t the favourite. But her true talent came through today. Now, running her in the Irish Oaks is an option, but she had just finished 3 tough races. So we may wait until the Yorkshire Oaks in August. And we might return to France for the Arc.” 

Lisa-Jane Graffard (Representing the owner of Musis Amica, 2nd)

She’s a very cold filly. I think Mickael is more exhausted than she is… She’s got a huge change of gears, which is why she was able to finish this way. She sent shivers down our spines today, and we went through a whole range of emotions in a matter of minutes.”

Mickaël Barzalona (jockey de Musis Amica, 2nd)

She was off the bridle again. But she picked up well to finish the race strongly. That’s her character. She saves up her energy to burst through the line. The next logical step is the Prix Vermeille over 2400m”

Francis-Henri Graffard (entraîneur d’Homérique, 3rd)

We were screaming as she came down the straight! We are disappointed by the loss because we would have liked to see the filly win, but she ran well. I’ll admit I am relieved because it’s stressful to run a filly like her, with no experience, in the Diane. Today the runners couldn’t come from behind, that’s why I asked Pierre Charles Boudot to ride her more aggressively, contrary to her previous starts. She broke well and had a perfect run, but towards the finish her efforts only motivated the winner, who was very resilient, to push harder.

Steve Burgraaf (propriétaire d’Homérique, 3e)

It was a fantastic moment. I’m full of joy but disappointed at having lost 1st place. Having a runner in the Diane is very rare. I am lucky to have my wife at my side. She gave us the courage to support the filly. And she has never run so well. Maybe she will run back over 2400m, definitely in October… It is not in her nature to run up on the lead. Pierre-Charles (Boudot) had to pull her back. She may have been prominent early in the race and weakened … In the Diane, these details are key. But we will have our revenge. This is not the last you will hear of her!

Aidan O’Brien (trainer of Happily, 4e)

Ran very well, we’re very happy with the run, she ran a great race. Not sure of her next target yet, we’ll take her home and see how she is, she has a lot of options.

Freddy Head (trainer of With You, 5e)

The filly ran well. She seemed to have every chance but did not have the acceleration to compete with the leaders.