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Tamfana, Dance Sequence Have Eyes Set on Prix de Diane

David Menuisier and Charlie Appleby have differing levels of experience when it comes to preparing classic contenders, but the two trainers present fillies that have shown themselves already to be genuine group 1 caliber in an open-looking Prix de Diane (G1) June 16. 

Menuisier has been working back from this race ever since Tamfana ‘s win in the Prix Miesque (G3) at Chantilly last October. With more luck she might have picked up the One Thousand Guineas (G1) on the way, given the way the daughter of Soldier Hollow flew when finally getting clear passage at Newmarket. 

Proven group 1 form over a mile has often been the key to finding the Diane winner and Tamfana looks just about the right favorite. 

Appleby is attempting a feat pulled off twice in recent memory by John Gosden in coming back for the Diane in short order with a filly that ran in the Oaks (G1) at Epsom over an extra furlong and a half. 

Dance Sequence  was the subject of heavy market support that day and was the only serious challenger to Ezeliya  before appearing to tire late on. The trip looks the right one, but it remains to be seen whether she can back up a huge performance at Epsom in the way that Nashwa  did two years ago. 

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The French trials have thrown up a clutch of extremely promising candidates in the shape of Birthe , Halfday , and Gala Real 

The Prix Saint-Alary (G1) has been the only one of the established trials to throw up a Diane winner in recent memory, with 2018 Chantilly heroine Laurens  the third to do the double since 2009.

Gala Real had the form of her victory at Longchamp boosted in emphatic fashion when her nearest pursuer, Aventure , streaked home by seven lengths when upped in trip to a mile and a half in the Prix de Royaumont (G3) on Prix du Jockey Club (G1) day a fortnight ago.

Christophe Ferland is rolling the dice with the drop back in trip and a quick turnaround with Aventure, and while both she and Gala Real look very talented fillies, the question remains as to whether they will be fast enough for this task.

Chantilly’s dynamic Irish duo Gavin Hernon and Tim Donworth both saddle their first classic runners. Hernon’s Dare to Dream  did not look to have too hard a race when a running on fourth in the Saint-Alary, while Donworth steps up in trip with L’Equilibriste  from her win in the Prix Finlande and has called up Hollie Doyle for the ride. Both are well drawn. 

If class over a mile as well as breeding for middle distances is the winning recipe then close attention to both Prix de la Grotte (G3) winner Candala  and Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (G1) seventh Rock’n Swing, who recorded the fastest closing fractions of the entire field having been last turning for home. However both must overcome wide draws. 

Menuisier should have a decent line to plenty of his opponents through War Chimes , who was a length and a half behind Dance Sequence in the Oaks, having been fifth to Birthe in the Saint-Alary when doing too much on the front end.

Menuisier has always insisted that Tamfana is the classier filly of the two and comes here off the back of a remarkable finishing effort when fourth in the One Thousand Guineas.

“She’s an exceptional filly and I’ve always thought she would improve when we stepped her up in trip,” said Menuisier. “The One Thousand Guineas at Newmarket was both an objective in itself and at the same time a stepping stone to the Diane. We went there trying to win but really she astonished me that day.

“I didn’t expect her to show that kind of speed and to be so comfortable over a mile. I think she’ll stay and if you look at her pedigree she should be running at Auteuil or Cheltenham.”

Menuisier’s regular first choice jockey Oisin Murphy takes over from Jamie Spencer, who enjoyed terrible luck at Newmarket when Tamfana got no split between runners.  

While you would still rather be drawn nearer the rail around Chantilly’s long right-handed sweep, low numbers haven’t been nearly as dominant in the Diane as has been the case in the Prix du Jockey Club over the same course and distance.

In the last decade both Star of Seville  in 15 and Laurens in stall 12 have prospered from a wide berth, while going back to 1990 there have been nine winners drawn between stalls 10 and 14, and a further six drawn in 8 and 9.

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