Senga wins Prix de Diane Longines at Chantilly
Senga produced a stunning performance to win the Prix de Diane Longines at Chantilly, France.
The winner was a disappointing favourite in the French Guineas at Deauville in May and could manage only third in the Prix Sandringham – again over a mile – on Prix du Jockey Club day a fortnight ago, but repaid the bold decision of trainer Pascal Bary to claim the French Oaks from Sistercharlie in second and Terrakova in third.
In a race which lived up to all expectations and was filled with drama from beginning to end, hopes of a British-trained winner looked high two furlongs out as Frankie Dettori surged to the front on Shutter Speed. However Senga’s jockey Stephane Pasquier had the move covered on and Dettori was pushed out of the minor places close to home by Sistercharlie and Terrakova.
Alex Pantall was proud and frustrated in equal measure after Sistercharlie flew home to snatch second, a length behind the winner. In third, Terrakova equalled the performance of her fabled mother Goldikova in this race, staying on in determined fashion after showing signs of greenness.
Shutter Speed lost her unbeaten record but little else in fourth, having been given a great ride from her wide draw by Dettori.
Only 14 of the 16 starters made it to the finishing line, after Ryan Moore pulled up Rhododendron just after halfway, while Christophe Soumillon crashed to the ground after Onthemoonagain came off worse in scrimmaging in the straight.
Rhododendron was reported to have been given a positive appraisal by vets, while Soumillon fulfilled his commitments for the rest of the meeting.
Speaking afterwards, the vastly experienced Bary, who won this race 12 years ago with another Niarchos family blueblood Divine Proportions, said, “I never gave up on her,”
“She’s got a fantastic pedigree and a great physique.
It is one thing to step up in trip for a Classic assignment, but quite another to do it so soon after her last run.
“She ran poorly in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches on bad ground but I don’t think that was the only excuse,”.
” She was in much better form going to the Sandringham and the day after that run she was magnificent. So I asked Maria and Electra [Niarchos] and Alan [Cooper, racing manager] if we could run in the Prix de Diane.
“Everyone was in agreement as long as the filly was well, and Stephane was very much of the opinion we should try stepping her up. It was a risk but when the horses are in really good form you should never have a doubt about running them.”
On a packed fixture card at Chantilly, Bary was also successful in the Prix Hocquart Longines as Vincent Cheminaud rode Ice Breeze to victory, ahead of Shakeel and Falcon Wings.
The opening race of the day saw Ioritz Mendizabal ride the D Chappet-trained Over Reacted to victory in the Prix de la Croix des Veneurs Longines, with The Pantry in second and Canouville in third.
Mendizabal made it a double in the Prix Bertrand du Breuil Longines as the J-C Rouget-trained Taareef came in ahead of Zelzal and Siyoushake.
The Grand Prix Longines saw a thrilling finish as Franck Blondel rode Soleil D’Octobre to victory by a short head from Gourel in second and Saphirius in third.
Jockey Cristian Demuro was successful in the Prix du Musee de la Renaissance Longines as Dramatist came in a length and a quarter ahead of Jacksun in second and Midnight Express in third.
Swiss watchmaker Longines is the Title Partner, the Official Timekeeper and the Official Watch of the Prix de Diane programme.