Trainer Freddie Head landed his third group I win of the season when his 3-year-old filly, Goldikova, held off Darjina by a half-length to capture the Prix Rothschild (Fr-I) at Deauville Aug. 3.

The former French champion jockey began training in 1998, but it’s just been recently that his career has taken off. Goldikova’s win was the fifth at the highest level for Head, who also conditions group I victors Marchand d’Or and Tamayuz. 

A field of nine fillies and mares went to the post, with favoritism fluctuating between three previous group I winners, Darjina, Natagora, and Nahoodh. Sabana Perdida, an impressive winner of the Windsor Forest Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot, was also in the line up.

Natagora broke sharply and went straight to the front under jockey Christophe Lemaire. The One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) victress, who hadn’t raced since a finishing a gallant third in the Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I) in June, was a bit headstrong, so Lemaire let her go rather than fight her.

Spring Touch, entered as a pacemaker for Goldikova, couldn’t keep up with Natagora, so Davy Bonilla settled her into second, with Goldikova and jockey Olivier Peslier tracking them closely in third. Sabana Perdida raced along in fourth, as both Darjina and Nahoodh were held up toward the back of the pack.

Natagora had things much her own way until the field entered the final two furlongs. At that point, Peslier made his move aboard Goldikova, and that pair assumed command with just over a furlong to go.

Darjina was making a determined rally from the back, and quickly moved into second. The daughter of Zamindar couldn’t get by Goldikova, who determinedly held onto her lead although she drifted to the right in the final yards. Darjina had to settle for second, a half-length behind the winner.

Natagora held on for third, two lengths further back. Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:37.50 over a soft turf course.

Goldikova was bred in Ireland by her owners, Wertheimer et Frere. She is by the French stallion Anabaa, out of Born Gold, by Blushing Groom. She hails from the immediate female family of French champion Gold River.

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