08/04/2008 12:00AM

Goldikova upends top pair in Rothschild


Goldikova gave Freddy Head the biggest win of his training career at Deauville on Sunday as she outran both Darjina and Natagora in the $395,000 Prix Rothschild, the premier Group 1 mile for fillies and mares in Europe.

The 61-year-old trainer, sister of trainer Criquette Head-Maarek and son of breeder/owner Alec Head, is renowned in America for his twin Breeders' Cup Mile triumphs aboard Miesque. He was scoring his third Group 1 victory of the year, following Marchand d'Or's win in the July Cup and Tamayuz's score in the Prix Jean Prat.

Goldikova tracked Natagora's early pace before leading under Olivier Peslier at the three-sixteenths pole. The 5-2 winner withstood the late challenge of Darjina by a half-length with Natagora third, two lengths farther back, and British raider Nahoodh fourth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths after having trailed early. The time for the straight mile on soft ground that had been drying out all afternoon was 1:37.50.

By the Danzig stallion Anabaa, himself the winner of the six-furlong, Group 1 July Cup, Goldikova was winning a race that her trainer had won six times as a rider. The Wertheimer & Frere-owned filly was also paying a huge compliment to Zarkava, who had beaten her decisively in both the French 1000 Guineas and the French Oaks.

Goldikova had recovered from those losses with a Group 3 mile tally in the Prix Chloe on July 6, and must now be considered one of Europe's leading milers. In victory she was forcing Darjina into her fourth Group 1 runner-up spot this year while handing 1000 Guineas winner Natagora a resounding defeat.

Goldikova, Darjina, and Natagora are all expected to meet again in the one-mile Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on Sept. 7.