Goldikova picked up right where she left off last season, notching another group I victory as she held off the late charge of Cirrus Des Aigles to capture the $353,785 Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I) at Longchamp May 22.
It was the second victory in a row in the Prix d’Ispahan for Goldikova, who now boasts a phenomenal 13 group or grade I wins on her resume.
Regular partner Olivier Peslier settled the daughter of Anabaa behind pacemaker Flash Dance during the early stages of the race. They were shadowed by Cirrus Des Aigles, as Byword and Dick Turpin were settled into mid-pack early on.
With two furlongs left to run, Goldikova took over from her stablemate and quickly kicked a couple of lengths clear of the field. Cirrus Des Aigles was under an all-out drive by Christophe Soumillon, moving into second and setting his sights on Goldikova as they entered the final furlong.
Goldikova and Cirrus Des Aigles battled to the wire, with Goldikova stubbornly hanging on to claim a neck victory. Rajsaman closed strongly to take third, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Cirrus Des Aigles.
Pacesetter Flash Dance finished fourth, with Byword coming home in fifth. Dick Turpin was never a factor and faded to finish last.
Final time for the nine furlongs was 1:51 over a course rated as good.
Freddie Head, who conditions the 6-year-old mare for owners Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, would not commit immediately after the race to sending his champion mare to Royal Ascot for a defense of her Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) crown.
“She’s beautiful in every way, but this distance is her limit,” Head said. “I will see about Ascot. I’ll sit down and talk with her owners; I won’t be committed at this stage, I absolutely won’t be committed.”
Goldikova was bred in Ireland by her owners. She is out of Born Gold, by Blushing Groom, and hails from the immediate female family of French champion Gold River.