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Prix de Diane: Guyon takes it to the Max

By Chris McGrath

Lest we forget, Mickael Barzalona is not the only young jockey flourishing under the tutelage of Andre Fabre.

Yesterday Maxime Guyon showcased his somewhat more pugnacious style as the 22-times champion trainer of France saddled yet another Classic winner, Golden Lilac in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly.

Guyon and Fabre would proceed to scoop all three of the other Group races on the card, so corroborating Frankie Dettori's recent assertion that France now has the strongest group of jockeys in all Europe.

The unbeaten Golden Lilac has now matched the Classic double pulled off by Zarkava in 2008, having already won the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches over a mile, and could now try to emulate her success in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe this autumn.

It is remarkable nowadays to reflect that Zarkava beat none other than Goldikova in both the Pouliches and Diane, and the fact is that Golden Lilac would probably not have been able to hold off Galikova, Goldikova's half-sister, had yesterday's race been run at a pace befitting a Classic.

As it was, Guyon had made a decisive move before Galikova could reach top gear, and stemmed her late challenge by a length.

Regardless, the race extended the astounding Classic run of Galileo, sire of both principals.

Goldikova herself will raise the curtain on Royal Ascot tomorrow when she meets Canford Cliffs in the Queen Anne Stakes.

Barely an hour later Frankel will start white-hot favourite to honour the Turf's latest and perhaps most cherished knight, Sir Henry Cecil, against eight rivals for the St James's Palace.

David Simcock was sufficiently relieved by yesterday's rain to declare Dream Ahead, who was officially ranked last season's joint-top juvenile with Frankel but has since been confined to his stable by the drought.

Aidan O'Brien was out of luck in New York on Saturday when Ruler On Ice sprang a 24/1 surprise in the Belmont Stakes.

The winner showed tremendous courage down the straight to fend off fellow outsiders Stay Thirsty and Brilliant Speed as O'Brien's Master Of Hounds finished a well-beaten 10th of 12.

In the Grade One Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap, O'Brien's Viscount Nelson finished eighth behind Mission Approved.

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