Sunday, 14th Jun 2020
Tawkeel maintained her unbeaten record and is now 5/1 for the Prix de Diane after an impressive win in the Prix Saint-Alary at Chantilly on Sunday.
Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and jockey Cristian Demuro enjoyed a Group 1 double with Tawkeel’s triumph the second leg.
Well-supported in the betting before the off, the daughter of Teofilo made an effortless step up in grade.
Prior to the Prix Saint-Alary, Tawkeel had only raced in minor events on the all-weather, but blitzed her six rivals. After chasing the leading pair, she made headway down the outside three furlongs from home.
Demuro shook her up two out and Tawkeel soon ran on to lead. She drew five lengths clear of Magic Attitude, who just held second from favourite Solsticia.
The trainer and owner Hamdan Al Maktoum have a strong hand at the head of the Prix de Diane betting. Those same connections could also run ready Longchamp Listed scorer Raabihah in the French Oaks on 5 July.
Following-up on her Prix Saint-Alary win could be the aim for Tawkeel. Karl Burke filly Laurens landed both of those valuable races in 2018, so it is possible.
Earlier on the Chantilly card, 2019 Prix du Jockey Club victor Sottsass resumed winning ways in the Prix Ganay. He reversed Prix d’Harcourt form with Shaman, Way To Paris and Simona.
However, Sottsass was far from convincing and the even-money favourite with bookmakers scrambled home by a head.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe third is now a 16/1 shot to win France’s most famous race in the autumn.
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
There was a lot to like about the effortless way in which Tawkeel stepped into Group 1 company. This was a sixth Prix Saint-Alary win for Rouget and the French Oaks looks the obvious next step.
The Diane double is more common than you think. La Sega (1962), Belle Sicambre (1964), Pistol Packer (1971), Madelia (1977), Reine de Saba (1978), Harbour (1982), Lacovia (1986), Indian Skimmer (1987), Zanita (1998), Stacelita (2009), Sarafina (2010) and Laurens make a dozen Saint-Alary heroines who followed-up.
Tawkeel has a lot to live up to after three minor all-weather wins. The way that she pulled clear of a small but select field suggests it was no fluke.
Demuro went on to complete a four-timer later on the card, so he is riding really well right now. He had to do plenty more aboard Sottsass who was a very different mount.
The Arc third has not convinced in his two starts this season, but has another Group 1 win to his name now. A head victory over confirmed stayer Way To Paris really doesn’t inspire confidence.
Plotting a path back to the Arc is now very much on the agenda for Sottsass. The Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Prix Foy are among the options for his next target.