John Dunlop-trained Golden Snake made his seasonal debut a winning one Sunday at Longchamp, taking the 10 1/2 furlong Prix Ganay (Fr-I) by three lengths over 4-year-old filly Egyptband. With the Flow was another three lengths back, with Little Rock fourth in the nine-horse field.
Golden Snake set a lively pace under jockey Pat Eddery and kicked clear of the field to earn the victory in the first group I race on the French racing calendar. Owned by the British National Stud, 5-year-old Golden Snake earned $72,000 for the win, his sixth in 13 career races.
After winning two consecutive group I races last fall – the Deutsche Post Euro Express Preis von Europa (Ger-I) and Premio Del Jockey Club Italiano (Ity-I) – Golden Snake disappointed in his final race of the year, a 10th-place finish in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I).
"This is a lovely horse, with a great temperament," said Dunlop. "He was slightly rusty when he returned late last year but improved with every run to win two Group I races. He was also quite unlucky in the Japan Cup last time out. I knew he was fit and told Pat Eddery to go on. It would be nice now to win a group I race with him in England and I might take him to the Prince Of Wales Stakes (Eng-I)."
Last year's French Oaks (Fr-I) and Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) runner-up Egyptband rallied from next-to-last but couldn't catch the winner.
"She was slightly too far off the pace and when the winner quickened away I knew that she would not catch him," said trainer Christiane Head-Maarek. "She was not yet 100 percent, but she will improve a lot off that run. The Coronation Cup is a possibility and at this time I am quite tempted to take her to England for that race next time out."
Last year's German Derby (Ger-I) winner Samum finished seventh.
"That was his worse race so far," trainer Andreas Schutz told Sporting Life. "He had worked with a horse that had won a Group race already this season and went really well in that gallop. We will take him home and scope him to see if there's anything wrong."
Golden Snake (Danzig--Dubian, by High Line) was bred in Kentucky by Gainsborough Farm.