05/22/2011 12:28PM

Longchamp: Goldikova begins season with neck victory in Prix d’Ispahan

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A new racing season showcased the same old Goldikova, who won her 2011 debut Sunday at Longchamp in Paris, taking the Prix d’Ispahan by a neck over Cirrus des Aigles. The 6-year-old Goldikova, perhaps the world’s best-known racehorse at this point, won the Ispahan for the second year in a row, and captured the 13th Group 1 or Grade 1 race of her career.

Ridden as usual by Olivier Peslier, Goldikova was always prominent Sunday, tracking the pace of Flash Dance before taking the lead just before the final furlong. Cirrus des Aigles made a race of it, but Goldikova was able to fend off his challenge while racing over a distance, about 1 1/8 miles, beyond her optimal trip.

“She’s beautiful in every way, but this distance is her very limit,” trainer Freddie Head said afterward.

Another Head-trained runner, Rajsaman, was three-quarters of a length behind Cirrus des Aigles. Byword finished fifth; Dick Turpin was last of nine.

Head said earlier in this year that Goldikova’s 2011 campaign would look much like 2010, when she went from the Ispahan to the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, got a mid-summer breather, then raced in the Prix Rothschild, Prix Jacque le Marois, and Prix de la Foret before shipping to the U.S. and winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile for the third year in a row. Head, however, on Sunday did not commit Goldikova to the Queen Anne, where she would meet top miler Canford Cliffs.

Earlier Sunday at Longchamp, Wavering, ridden by Mickael Barzelona for trainer Andre Fabre and Godolphin Racing, won the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary for 3-year-old fillies by about a neck over Epic Love, with Nonsuch Way another neck back in third.