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No guarantees for home team in Prix de Diane

15 June 2018

With three of the four classics already run, the fourth takes centre stage at Chantilly on Sunday and in prospect is one of the hottest and most open editions of the Prix de Diane in many years. Typically the domain of locally-trained horses, the French once again have a strong hand to play but the pair of overseas runners is eminently capable of upsetting the apple cart.
Leading the home team’s charge is the Aga Khan’s Shahnaza who has not been tested beyond Listed level but she is all class and can add a seventh Diane to Alain de Royer Dupré’s already impressive tally. She can nonetheless expect to feel the pressure from Ballydoyle’s Happily who won a brace of Gr.1 races as a two year-old and finished third in both the Irish and English 1,000 Guineas. A victory for her would, in contrast, be Aidan O’Brien’s first in this select fillies contest. She was, however beaten by Karl Burke’s Laurens at Newmarket before the latter clinched the Gr.1 Prix Saint-Alary by a short-head from Freddy Head’s With You.
Other domestic interests include Musis Amica who looks to be ideally suited to the 2100m trip, and Head’s second runner, and Prix Pénélope winner, LuminateCastellarSoustraction and Barkaa are all talented individuals with legitimate ambition, but the supplemented Homerique looks a possible spoiler. Should Lady Athena win the day, it would be something of a fairytale beginning for trainer Yan Durepaire and novice Australian owner, John Hutchins.
Picture: Leading french hope Shahnaza