La Cressonniere won the French 1,000 Guineas last time out
By Scott Burton 8:36PM 18 JUN 2016
Preview: France, Sunday 3.15pm BST
Chantilly: Prix de Diane Longines (Group 1) 1m2½f, 3yo filles
JEAN-CLAUDE ROUGET and Aidan O’Brien have, between them, dominated this season’s best races among the Classic generation of fillies, with the score 3-2 to Rouget at Group 1 level.
Rouget’s three-strong squad is headed by the only unbeaten filly in the field, Poule d’Essai heroine La Cressonniere – a likely stayer on pedigree – and Jemayel, who proved herself over the trip when bouncing back to form in the Prix Saint-Alary, denying the late thrust of Camprock.
“La Cressonniere’s stamina would seem assured on pedigree but it isn’t automatic,” said Rouget. “She does everything like a top-class filly and has never won by less than a length. If she stays she has a great chance.”
Rouget also saddles Jemayel and Zghorta Dance, and added of that pair: “Jemayel is a very good filly, too, and all of her runs have been very good except for her comeback, which was too bad to be true.
“Zghorta Dance might be a notch below the other two but she’s a filly I love. Like La Cressonniere she’s not that big, but she has a lot of heart and won the Prix Vanteaux easily.”
Ballydoyle and Coolmore represent O’Brien
In 1,000 Guineas runner-up Ballydoyle, O’Brien sends his highest-rated challenger for France’s version of the Oaks, with Coolmore also set to take her chance.
An unsatisfactory blood picture kept her out of the Irish 1,000 Guineas, while the Ascot rain derailed plans to run in Friday’s Coronation Stakes, and one caveat remains about her participation on Sunday- namely if the ground is soft at Chantilly.
Ballydoyle attempts to follow the examples of Divine Proportions and Zarkava in achieving the Prix Marcel Boussac-Diane double and is officially rated 1lb superior to La Cressonniere after chasing home stablemate Minding at Newmarket when not getting the clearest of runs.
“Ballydoyle missed Ascot because of the ground,” said O’Brien. “She’s in good form and, although going up in trip, we’re hopeful that won’t be problem. However, she has a bad draw.
“Coolmore was very disappointing in the Irish Guineas. We think she’s a lot better than she ran at the Curragh. We think the trip will suit and she is drawn better than Ballydoyle.”
A Group 3-winning juvenile, Coolmore appears to be second string for O’Brien, whose best result in the Diane from four previous runners was Queen Cleopatra’s third behind Confidential Lady in 2006.
Gosden also features
John Gosden will also be represented in Sunday’s race, with Swiss Range having her first shot at Group 1 level, as long as the ground is suitable.
“This has been the plan since she won the Pretty Polly,” said Gosden.
“She has a decent draw, but it looks a very strong renewal. She’s travelled over to France, but I’ll have to have a look at the ground before deciding whether she takes her chance as she wouldn’t want it too soft.”