The Laurens team
©© Photo Healy Racing
Laurens gave trainer Karl Burke and jockey PJ McDonald their first taste of Classic success with a determined victory in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly.
Having rounded off her juvenile campaign with a Group One triumph in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket, the daughter of Siyouni returned to Headquarters to finish second in last month’s 1000 Guineas.
She doubled her top-level tally when going one better in the Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp three weeks ago and crossed the Channel once more for a tilt at the French Oaks.
Laurens broke smartly from her wide berth in stall 12 and although she was trapped wide throughout, she was still travelling strongly at the top of the home straight.
Former jumps jockey McDonald had to get to work with two furlongs to run, but Laurens answered his every call to see off all comers and claim a popular success.
Musis Amica finished strongly to grab the runner-up spot ahead of Homerique, Aidan O’Brien’s Happily and With You.
Burke told Press Association Sport: “We’re all ecstatic, as you can imagine.
“Every winning jockey gives a horse a good ride, but I thought PJ was exceptional on her. From her wide draw he got her into the A1 position. It was absolutely superb.
“She’s obviously very tough, but she’s also got a lot of ability and I just hope she gets the credit she deserves now. They were all saying it was an exceptional Prix de Diane coming into it and I think because of the manner of her victories, she’d been a little bit underestimated.
“To have another Group One winner is fantastic and for it to be a Classic is that extra bit special.”
Asked about future plans, the trainer added: “She’s in the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks is a race we’d love to go for, for obvious reasons. Whether she runs in one or both of those races, we’ll have to see. We’ll let her tell us what she wants to do.
“She’s in the Arc at the end of the year and a gentleman from Japan has told me today she qualifies for a very valuable fillies’ race out there now, so all options are open to her.
“I hadn’t realised what a big deal the Prix de Diane was until today. There’s a huge crowd and they tell me it’s second only to Arc day over here.
“We’ll try to enjoy it.”
McDonald added: “She was beautiful. She did everything I asked her. I have waited all my career to have a filly like that.
“A few years ago, I was still a jumps jockey. But I have always had confidence in myself. In this business, you have to have horses and people who trust you. And today, I want to thank those who trusted me. You cannot know how important it is to me. ”
O’Brien was not too disheartened by Happily’s effort, adding: “She ran well. We’re satisfied, there’s many options for her and we have not made our choice yet.”