Golden Lilac withstood the challenge of favorite Cirrus des Aigles to win the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I) by a half-length at Longchamp May 27.
Andre Fabre trains the 4-year-old daughter of Galileo who now has won six of her seven lifetime starts. The bay filly captured both the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I) and Prix de Diane-Longines (Fr-I) last season before finishing third to Galikova in the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano (Fr-II) in August, her last start of 2011.
Cirrus des Aigles, who was seeking his third straight group I victory of the year, was made the heavy favorite in the nine-furlong contest despite some stiff competition in the form of four other group I winners in the race. In addition to Golden Lilac, the other group I winners in the field were Tin Horse (Poule d’Essai des Poulains), Reliable Man (Prix du Jockey-Club), and Planteur (Prix Ganay).
Golden Lilac broke sharply and shot straight to the front under Maxime Guyon. They were soon joined by Cirrus des Aigles, as Guyon worked on getting his filly to relax and settle.
After two furlongs Golden Lilac allowed her rival to take over the lead as Guyon eased her back into third. Cirrus des Aigles continued to lead throughout the early stages of the race, with Zinabaa in second and Golden Lilac tracking from third. Planteur and Tin Horse raced in mid-pack while Reliable Man was settled toward the rear early.
With just over two furlongs left to run, Cirrus des Aigles quickened under Olivier Peslier and opened up a slight lead. Golden Lilac was under a drive by Guyon and drew alongside to challenge with a furlong left as Zinabaa faded out of contention.
The two runners matched strides briefly but Golden Lilac began to edge clear, crossing the wire three-quarters of a length in front. Planteur closed late to get third, a half-length farther back.
Final time for the nine-furlong turf contest was 1:51.85 over a course labeled "good."
Golden Lilac races as a homebred for Gestut Ammerland, which bred the filly in Ireland. Golden Lilac is the second foal out of Grey Lilas, by Danehill. Grey Lilas captured the Prix du Moulin (Fr-I) as a 3-year-old and placed in both the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Prix de l’Opera (Fr-I) that same year.