Latice Lands French Oaks With Closing Rush

Latice gathered her momentum at the head of the straight and motored past the leaders for three-quarters of a length win over Millionaia in the Prix de Diane Hermes (Fr-I) at Chantilly Sunday.

French champion jockey Christophe Soumillon timed the closing rush to get Latice home in the French Oaks perfectly after drawing the extreme outside in the field of 17 3-year-old fillies, The time in the about 1 1/4-mile test was 2:07 on good to soft going.

Grey Lilas was a half-length behind in third, followed by Alexander Goldrun.

Jean-Marie Beguigne trains the daughter of Inchinor whose dam, Laramie, is by Gulch.

"That was fantastic and Latice is an exceptional filly," Beguigne told The Racing Post, adding: "She has an amazing ability to accelerate and stays. I was feeling confident all through the race.

"For a long time I knew that I had a Prix de Diane winner in my stable. Latice will now have a rest and we will bring her back for the autumn with the Arc de Triomphe in mind."

Soumillon compared her favorably with French Derby (Fr-I) winner Blue Canari.

"I didn't have the slightest worry in the race and the number 18 draw was never a handicap because I knew Latice was the best filly in the Diane," he told the Racing Post. "Finally we won with something in hand.

"Dalakhani was a very very good horse but you can't compare Latice who is also a champion. If we come up against the Jockey-Club (French Derby) winner Blue Canari, Latice would come out best."

Latice was held up at the rear of the field and was 15th with about two furlongs to go. She shifted to the outside and closed with conviction down the middle of the course.

Millionaia rallied from mid-pack along the rail, hooking up with the winner for the final furlong. Grey Lilas was always close to the pace and led for the final two furlongs until passed by Latice with 150 yards to go. Alexander Goldrun failed to respond after challenging Grey Lilas late, finishing three-quarters of a length behind that one.

They were followed by Agata (5th), Barancella (6th), Ask for the Moon (7th), Dreams Come True (8th), Asti (9th), Steel Princess (10th), Torrestrella (11th), Love and Bubbles (12th), Menhoubah (13th), Colony Band (14th), Ometsz (15th), Symphony of Psalms (16th) andPrairie Flower.

Also on the Chantilly program, Policy Maker won the Grand Prix de Chantilly (Fr-II) with Kieren Fallon aboard for Alec Wildenstein.

Policy Maker, a son of Sadler's Wells, edged favored Fair Mix by a short neck. Short Pause finished third.