07/30/2007 12:00AM

Darjina wins Prix d'Astarte


Darjina followed in the prodigious footsteps of Mandesha and Divine Proportions on Sunday by winning a first-rate renewal of the Group 1, $341,000 Group 1 Prix d'Astarte at Deauville.

Sent off as the 2-1 favorite in a field of 12 fillies and mares, Darjina, a 3-year-old daughter of Zamindar, took the lead at the quarter pole and held on gamely to defeat Missvinski by a half-length. She finished the straight mile in 1:37.10 on soft ground. It was another half-length back to third-place Simply Perfect, who had won the Falmouth Stakes. Mi Emma, winner of the German 1000 Guineas and runner-up in the Coronation Stakes, was seventh. Impressionnante, second in last year's Astarte, was eighth, with Utrecht, winner of the Prix Daphnis, ninth.

With Thierry Thulliez replacing the suspended Christophe Soumillon, just as Johnny Murtagh had subbed for Soumillon in winning the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes aboard Dylan Thomas on Saturday, Darjina bounced back from a third-place finish in Royal Ascot's Coronation Stakes. Winner of the French 1000 Guineas, she has now won 4 of 5 lifetime starts for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre and owner Princess Zahra Aga Khan, who combined for last year's Astarte with Mandesha.

Royer-Dupre said that the 1 1/4-mile Prix de l'Opera on Oct. 7 would be Darjina's major objective. Trainer Jeremy Noseda said that the Smith/Tabor/Magnier-owned Simply Perfect was being aimed at a fall campaign in America.