Sarafina followed up her win in the Montjeu Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary (Fr-I) last month with a scintillating performance to take the Prix de Diane (Fr-I) by 1 1/2 lengths at Chantilly June 13. The victory gave the Aga Khan a one-two finish in the Diane as stablemate Rosanara came flying home late to claim second.
The victory by Sarafina provided both the Aga Khan and trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre with their sixth wins in the French classic.
Valasyra, who was entered as a pacemaker by Royer-Dupre, went straight to the front as Sarafina was settled into sixth by jockey Christophe Lemaire. Rosanara sat just off her stablemate in seventh. Racing just in front of that pair in fifth was Deluxe, the royally-bred Juddmonte filly who had finished second to Sarafina in the Saint-Alary last time out.
As the field entered the home straight, jockey Maxime Guyon was the first to make his move, angling Deluxe toward a narrow opening along the inside rail. Unfortunately, the gap closed as quickly as it appeared, sandwiching Deluxe between a tiring Valasyra and A Media Luz. By the time Guyon was able to extricate his filly and get her into the clear it was too late as the daughter of Storm Cat was spent from all of the bumping and banging, and could do no better than a tired fourth.
Unlike Deluxe, Sarafina had clear sailing on the outside and rolled past the field, taking command of the race with just over a furlong to run. The daughter of Refuse to Bend drew off to win comfortably.
Rosanara made up ground late to take second, finishing another 1 1/2 lengths in front of Sandbar. Final time for the ten furlongs was 2:07.80 over a course rated soft.
The Aga Khan was delighted to celebrate a double in a classic that has been incredibly important to his career as an owner and a breeder. He said after the race, “I would like to thank the teams who bred these fillies and the one that trains them.
“Both fillies were born and bred in France. One comes from an old French family that came to my stud when I bought the stock of Mrs. Dupre. The other one comes from my own stud.
“I am often asked when I will produce a great colt. But it’s the great fillies that are more important for the stability and the future of my stud, and that is what is important to me.”
Trainer Royer-Dupre had nothing but praise for his stable staff, saying after the race, “It is very important for me to point out the teamwork behind such a success. The winter is long and the work repetitive. You have to be passionate and you need to take great care every morning. Races are won in the morning.”
Regarding the future plans for his two fillies, Royer-Dupre said, “As to Rosanara, there is no doubt that she will stay the mile and a half and she will be going for the Prix Vermeille (Fr-I).
“Sarafina's case is a little different and I think we would like to keep her to the mile and a quarter and nurture her along. We still haven't seen the best of her.”
The undefeated Sarafina is out of Sanariya, by Darshaan.