Laurens delivers Prix de Diane glory as dreams of Arc bid take shape

By Geoffrey Riddle@Louchepunter
Sun 17 Jun 2018

Karl Burke paid tribute to Laurens' tenacity after she gave the trainer and jockey PJ McDonald their first taste of Classic success with a determined victory in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly on Sunday.

It was a third Group One success for the winner, who beat French fillies Musis Amica and Homerique. Happily, the 11-4 favourite, was fourth.

"Laurens was extremely well ridden, Burke said.

"Her jockey never panicked. He let her gallop within herself. 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 for the team. Great races are not won without a great team."

Having rounded off her juvenile campaign with a Group One triumph in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket, the daughter of Siyouni returned to Headquarters to finish second in last month’s 1000 Guineas.

She doubled her top-level tally when going one better in the Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp three weeks ago and crossed the Channel once more for a tilt at the French Oaks.

Laurens broke smartly from her wide berth in stall 12 and although she was trapped wide throughout, she was still travelling strongly at the top of the home straight.

Former jumps jockey McDonald had to get to work with two furlongs to run, but Laurens answered his every call to see off all comers and claim a popular success.

"She was magnificent," the jockey said. "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.”

Owner John Dance suggested that a break is now a realistic option with a preparation for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October the aim. Laurens is 16-1 for the ParisLongchamp race.

"She is a talented filly with a huge heart," he said. "She is simply incredible. The final two furlongs were hard for me to watch - my heart skipped a beat. But she is so strong.

"She always beats her rivals. This week, she wasn’t the favourite. But her true talent came through today. Running her in the Irish Oaks is an option, but she had just finished three tough races. So we may wait until the Yorkshire Oaks in August. And we might return to France for the Arc.”

Musis Amica finished strongly to grab the runner-up spot ahead of Homerique, Aidan O’Brien’s Happily and With You.

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