Aidan O’Brien sends Happily to France for the Prix de Diane, the French Oaks.
She’s yet to match her juvenile from of last year when she captured two Group 1’s, here in France she took the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and before that at home she won the Moyglare Stud Stakes. There were both very good performances especially in France when she beat the colts Olmedo and Masar subsequent winners of the French 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby, not bad looking form now.
Her runs this year in both the English 1000 Guineas and Irish 1000 Guineas suggested she was crying out for an extension in trip. She went off favourite for both, the market having recognised that juvenile form however she was caught for toe on both occasions finishing a staying on third both times.
Karl Burke’s Laurens is the other visitor in the field. She beat September in the Fillies Mile at Ascot last year and ran second in the English 1000 Guineas on seasonal debut a length in front of Happily. She stepped up to this trip in the Prix Saint-Alary to bag her second Group 1 where she had a short head to spare over With You who reopposes here. She’s a quality filly.
The home defence is led by Alain De Royer Dupre’s Shahnaza who will vie for favouritism with Happily with the bookmakers. She runs in the famous Aga Khan’s green silks colours and will be ridden by Christophe Soumillion. This daughter of Azamour is trice raced winning her last two in easy fashion having run second first time out.
Freddy Head’s Luminate won her first three races and is on a bit of a recovery mission having lost her unbeaten run last time out. She will have the assistance of Frankie Dettori in the plate. Godolphin’s Musis Amica is in a similar position having lost her unbeaten record on her last appearance having won her first two. She’s trained by the wily Andre Fabre.
The advantage is to the visitors in terms of form.
Both Laurens on what she’s done this year and Happily on what she’s done last year set the standard. The home team have it all to do. The issue is the ground, it will come up soft which generally tends to suit the French fillies. Whilst not ideal for the visitors Happily did cope admirably with it when she won the Moyglare Stakes last year beating her better fancied stablemates Magical and September and Laurens did win on good to soft on her last trip to France. In a tight one Happily can prevail.
The French tote price is likely to prove bigger than the bookmakers price so put PMU on your docket.
Recommendation: Happily PMU