Laurens lands French oaks glory

Laurens and PJ Mc Donald | Scoop Dyga

Laurens, who was second behind surprise victor Billesdon Brook in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, scored a third Group 1 success and handed Burke and McDonald their first Classic victory. But Laurens kept on gamely, and while five horses were separated by about one length at the finish, it was Laurens home by a neck.

Longchamp in October is now firmly under consideration, but Burke and Dance will look at a couple of targets closer to home first.

"We're all ecstatic, as you can imagine", Burke said.

Laurens, based in England but the victor of the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp in her most recent start, broke on top in the 1 5/16-mile Prix de Diane, the French Oaks, but Luminate was ridden to the lead, giving Laurens the target for which her connections hoped.

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Musis Amica got a very long way back in the French 1,000 Guineas last time and is probably a fair bit better than she showed there, and Castellar won nicely when stepped up in trip at Saint Cloud.

"When we bought the filly this was the race we talked about, literally the day we bought her, so to actually come here and win it, it's incredible", owner John Dance was reported as saying in the Racing Post. "She's proved she's top-class".

Her rivals lined up to take her on, but the filly, again beautifully handled by jockey PJ McDonald, was having none of it and saw them all off in style. She has been strong late on in both her races this year.

McDonald's transition from jump jockey to Classic-winning Flat rider has been one of quiet excellence, and in Laurens he has the flawless foil. But the party just keeps getting bigger.

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