PRIX DE DIANE LONGINES : THE CORONATION OF A QUEEN
Chantilly hosts the Prix de Diane Longines on Sunday June 17 and, in addition to its group one status, which is the very highest grade of race globally, it will also consecrate the best filly from the born in 2015 generation. A race of real international standing, the classic was inaugurated in 1843. The Prix de Diane Longines also boasts a long standing association with the concept of female elegance and women are in the habit of wearing their best hats for the occasion; this being a way of paying tribute to the grace and beauty of the equine athletes on display. It must also be underscored that those fillies which have earned the right to contest the Prix de Diane Longines hardly need no introduction. In the majority of cases, they have achieved great things prior to tackling the 2.100 metres trip of the Chantilly feature. Legendary fillies have won the race including the unforgettable Trêve who went to capture two editions of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Another case in point is that Zarkava, as she went on to experience Arc glory a few months later; without forgetting the example of Divine Proportions, with the latter suffering her only career defeat in her very last appearance on the track.
Freddy Head: out to break his maiden in the classic as a trainer ?
The 169th edition of the race has a real promising look to it and one with a distinct international flavour. From the domestic standpoint, the leading candidates are trained locally at Chantilly. Freddy Head is still seeking his first success in the classic as a trainer, although he won it four times as a jockey. He will be doubly represented by With You and Luminate. The former, unbeaten in two starts at two, is coming off an excellent second in The Gurkha Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary (Groupe 1) on her return, which can be considered as a good stepping stone to the classic proper. Regarding Luminate, she surrendered her unbeaten record to Castellar on her last start in the Prix Cléopâtre (Groupe 3). The latter is among the leading fancies for Sunday’s race.
Castellar is trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias, who is related to Freddy Head, having married his niece.
Finally, the colours of His Highness The Aga Khan have triumphed a record seven times, and these silks are due to be carried by Shahnaza. Although still inexperienced, the filly has shown definitive ability by taking the Prix de la Seine. The latter race enjoys Listed status which is the level just below group racing.
Or can Irish maestro Aidan O’Brien break his duck?
As if often the case in the types of races, runners hailing from Britain and Ireland are often formidable foes. One filly fitting this description is Laurens. Bred in France by Melchior-François Mathet (whose late father the legendary trainer François won the race twice), Laurens is coming off a win in the The Gurkha Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary (Group 1) in which she beat With You.
Wild Illusion is coming off a second in the Oaks (Group 1) at Epsom, which is the British equivalent of the Diane. She won the Prix Marcel Boussac, the top French race for juvenile fillies, at this track. The Irish maestro, Aidan O’Brien, promises to be well represented and five ‘Ballydoyle’ fillies stood their ground at Monday’s acceptance stage. In common with Freddy Head, he has yet to win the classic.