05/27/2012 2:28PM

France: Golden Lilac sharp after layoff in Prix d’Ispahan


Golden Lilac’s 4-year-old debut Sunday at Longchamp in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan produced a three-quarters length victory over top-class Cirrus des Aigles and pointed the filly out as one of the best middle-distance runners in Europe.

Racing for the first time since last August, Golden Lilac was rank in the early stages of the race, pulling hard on reins held by jockey Maxime Guyon. Briefly in front in the first furlong, Golden Lilac got covered up when Cirrus des Aigles took over the lead and crossed to the inside, and there Golden Lilac stayed until the final quarter-mile. And while the filly never fully settled, she had plenty in the tank once Guyon swung her outside to engage Cirrus des Aigles. Those two and Planteur all finished very fast, with Golden  Lilac coming out on top and Cirrus des Aigles another half-length back in third. The winning time for nine furlongs and 55 yards good going was 1:51.85.

Golden Lilac, a Galileo filly trained by Andre Fabre who won the French Oaks last year, has won 6 of 7 starts, her only loss a third-place finish behind talented Galikova last summer.

Earlier on the card, Sagawara came out on top of a tight finish in the Group 1Prix Saint-Alary for 3-year-old fillies. Sagawara, winning her first group race, tracked the pace and proved a head better than Rjwa, with Forces of Darkness another head back in third. Sagawara is likely to be pointed to the French Oaks next month.

Irish 1000 Guineas: Longshots dominate

In Ireland, Samitar – owned by American Martin Schwartz – led a parade of longshots in the Irish 1000 Guineas, where heavily favored Homecoming Queen, blowout winner of the English 1000 Guineas, faded to fourth after setting the pace.

Samitar had been eighth and ninth in her two races this year, but she was ready for Sunday’s race at the Curragh. Tracking from third under jockey Martin Harley, Samitar made the lead a little more than a furlong from the finish and proved much the best, winning by 1 ½ lengths. Ishvana, an Aidan O’Brien-trained filly with less obvious credentials than stablemate Homecoming Queen, was second . Princess Sinead finished third.

O’Brien found success earlier on the card when So You Think won the Tattersalls Gold Cup for the second straight year, crushing four overmatched foes for a six-length victory. Making his first start since a fourth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup, So You Think raced third as his stable-mate and pacemaker Robin Hood shot off to a big early lead. So You Think caught his rabbit at the top of the homestretch and cruised to victory under jockey Joseph O’Brien.