170 th Prix de Diane Longines

170 th Prix de Diane Longines

by Bernard Kenny

It’s European Classic time and the French say the Prix de Diane Longines is elegant and excellent, even chic. A highlight of the Parisian summer!
This year European racegoers may see a new star on the horizon with His Highness the Aga khan owned Siyarafina winning the 170 th Prix de Diane Longines, the French Oaks at Chantilly.
So impressive was Siyarafina in winning all three career starts that Ladbrokes have her as the 11/8 hot favourite having won the Prix Saint-Alary, the chief French Oaks prelude.
Ridden by Christophe Soumillon for trainer Alain de Royer Dupre, Siyarafin defeated Olendon, trained by Pascal Bary, in the Prix Saint-Alary. She won by a comfortable one length in a time of 2:06.48sec over the 2100m on a good-to-soft rated track at Longchamp.
The Aga Khan bred Siyarafina, being by the successful Nunthorpe Stakes winning sire Pivotal, from the stakes winner Siyenical, by Azamour. Stakes winning grandam Sichilla, is the dam of Grand Criterium winning sire Siyouni and duel Group 1 winner Siyouma.
The Aga Khan has bred all his record six Prix de Diane winners, and all trained by Alain de Royer Dupre at Chantilly. Shemaka was their first winner 1993, followed by Vereva in 1997, Zanita in 1998 with Sarafina in 2010 being the most recent Diane winner.
Daryaba in 1999 who went onto win the Prix de Vermeille, and is the grandam of Prix Ganay winning sire Dariyan, through her Hong Kong Vase winning daughter Daryakan. Dariyan, as with Siyouni, stand at the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval.
Zarkava won in 2008 and by October became the first filly since Urban Sea in 1993 to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Zarak, her Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winning son also stands at Haras de Bonneval.
Fresh from his success in the Prix du Jockey-Club, the French Derby, with Sottsass trainer Jean-Claude Rouget has his Poule d’Essai Des Pouliches, the French 1000 Guineas, second placing Commes the best of his four runners as the 11/2 Diane second favourite.
To be ridden by Cristian Demuro, Commes will certainly be pressed by the stable’s second choice Etoile, the Prix Cleopatre winner at 9/1. Jean-Claude Rouget has won four editions of the Prix de Diane, most recently with La Cressonniere in 2016.
The John Gosden trained Entitle was second in the Musidora Stakes and is the best of the British challengers at 12/1. Fellow Newmarket trainer Roger Varian is looking for his first Prix de Diane success with his Musidora Stakes winner Nausha at 16/1.
A Group 1 race for 3yo fillies run over 2100 metres at Chantilly each June, the Prix de Diane was only open to foreign starters in 1956. The Seamus McGrath owned and trained Sweet Mimosa, ridden by Bill Williamson, was the first foreign winner in 1970.
Fille de l’Air in 1864 and Pawneese in 1976 are the only winners of Prix de Diane and English Oaks. Six winners of the Prix de Diane winners have gone onto win the Prix de l’Air; Arc de Triomphe, with Treve the most recent in 2013.
First run in 1843, even though some records show 1841, it has only been during the Franco- Prussian War, World War I, World War II and a stable-hands strike in 1975 that the race has not been run. Even during the French Revolution it was run at Versailles in 1848.