The Prix de Diane is a Group One race run at Chantilly exclusively for fillies, often referred to in the UK as the “French Oaks”. It is the fourth flat leg of the EpiqE series, a championship made up of the 14 most important races in France.
Sixteen fillies go to post on Sunday afternoon, among them several British challengers. Here is a runner-by-runner form guide to a race steeped in history.
Shutter Speed is one of two fillies to line up in this race unbeaten, the other being Terrakova. Shutter Speed has run three times, twice this year, and was impressive last time out in the Musidora Stakes (Group 3) at York. She is owned by Khalid Abdullah, is trained by John Gosden and will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. Gosden and Dettori won this race in 2015 with Star of Seville and look to have a very live chance again this year.
Rhododendron represents the formidable Coolmore team. She is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who incidentally has yet to win the Prix de Diane. She ran five times at the age of two, ending her year with a win in the Dubai Fillies’ Mile. She made her seasonal reappearance in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket where she finished second to her stable companion Winter, the subsequent winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas. Rhododendron finished second to Enable, by five lengths, in the Oaks at Epsom but excuses for the weather and the track can be made.
Trained by Freddy Head, this filly is a daughter of Galileo and her equally famous mother is the champion Goldikova. She is still quite inexperienced, having only run twice. She won very easily last November on the all-weather at Chantilly on her first start. On her second start in May she won the Prix Cléopâtre, a Group 3 race, but previous winners of that race rarely follow up in the Diane. The last horse to do so was back in 1976. However she is clearly a smart horse and there is plenty more to come from her.
Kitesurf’s trainer André Fabre has won the Prix de Diane four times. Kitesurf is coming into this race off a convincing win in the Prix de Royaumont (Group 3) on good-soft ground. She is clearly improving and certainly knows her way around Chantilly.
Senga will be running over this distance for the first time on Sunday but her connections were clearly encouraged by her performance in the Prix de Sandringham, a Group 2 run at the start of the month. Her fourth place in the Prix Marcel Boussac as a two-year-old warrants plenty of respect too.
Monroe Bay comes to the Prix de Diane after victory in the Prix Finlande. The filly had looked classy when second in the Prix Vanteaux (Group 3), a short head from Gold Luck. Gerald Mosse takes the ride.
Sistercharlie has already beaten two of her rivals for this race, Haya of Fortune and Mademoiselle Marie. She is highly regarded as she has entries in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the Beverly D Stakes (USA), and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh. Pierre-Charles Boudot, winner of 300 races last year, takes the mount.
Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, Onthemoonagain has avoided any hard races, and this freshness could work in her favour on Sunday. She won a Listed race for fillies on her seasonal reappearance at Toulouse. She is owned in partnership by Jean-Louis Tepper and Gérard Augustin-Normand who won this race last year with La Cressonnière.
Panthelia began her racing career this year with an easy win in a maiden race at Toulouse. She then came sixth to Onthemoonagain in a Listed race at the same venue. In her next race she bounced back to form finishing less than a length to Terrakova in the Prix Cléopâtre.
Vue Fantastique finished second in The Gurkha Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary last time out and is trained by Chantilly based Fabrice Chappet. Chappet recorded his first ever Group 1 a short time ago with Précieuse and he will be keen to follow up that success here.
On her 2-year-old debut in September, she finished second in the Prix de la Cascade, beating one other Diane hopeful, Monroe Bay. She was then second in the Prix des Réservoirs, a length in front of another of Sunday’s rivals, Onthemoonagain.
Haya Of Fortune
The filly is coming off a win in a handicap at Chantilly last time out. She got her black type last year when finishing third in the Prix Étalons la Cauvinière – Critérium de l’Ouest. Haya of Fortune will be the first runner in a Group 1 for Norbert Leenders who trains in Mayenne.
She is also the first runner at this level for her trainer, Keven Borgel. She ran ten times in her 2-year-old season. With just one exception, she finished in the first five seven times from eight starts. A win in the Prix Delahante (Listed) tempted connections to take their chance here.
Normandie has one win to her name, a maiden over a mile at Maisons-Laffitte last season. She is coming into this race off an eighth place in the Prix Finlande (Listed) behind Monroe Bay which on the face of it does not appear to be good enough form.
Festive was supplemented to run in the Abu Dhabi Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Group 1) in mid-May at Deauville, but she finished well down the field. She will start as a big outsider in this race on all known form.
Yellow Storm’s participation is a story in itself as she will be ridden by a female jockey, Marilyn Éon, the very first in the history of the race. Yellow Storm is coming off a win in the Prix Dominique Ingres at Senonnes-Pouancé, a provincial victory but the form will not stand up here.
Much of the attention in the UK will be based around the betting triumvirate of Shutter Speed, Rhododendron and Terrakova. However, a runner in the race that has been well-touted in France this week, but not as much over here is Sistercharlie. This filly will be well supported on the PMU but will be a fairly generous price online and in the betting shops. She certainly has a strong each-way chance.
888sport predicts: 1. Sistercharlie 2. Shutter Speed 3. Terrakova