Big lure of Parislongchamp tempts Laurens and Burke to France

KARL BURKE sees the Gurkha Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary as 'a good opportunity' to make Laurens a dual Group One winner when his stable star runs at ParisLongchamp tomorrow.

Laurens ridden by PJ McDonald wins the bet365 Fillies' Mile during day one of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
Laurens ridden by PJ McDonald wins the bet365 Fillies' Mile during day one of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

The high-class three-year-old won the Group One Fillies’ Mile last season and made her seasonal reappearance in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

And while PJ McDonald’s mount had no answer to the impressive winner Billesdon Brook, she lost little in defeat in finishing second.

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Burke, and owner John Dance have always stressed Laurens would not reach her full potential until she stepped up in trip, and though the Irish 1,000 Guineas was in the melting pot, the small field in France and the opportunity to run over 10 furlongs has proved a big lure.

The Prix de Diane on June 17 – the French Oaks – will be a big aim if the daughter of Siyouni is successful.

Leyburn-based Burke said: “We were beaten by a better filly on the day in the Guineas, no excuses at all. We have always felt she would improve for a step up to this kind of distance.

“Whether travelling to France this close to the Prix de Diane, which is her main target, is ideal, I don’t know, but this looks a good opportunity.”

Flowrider, With You, Soustraction and Tosen Gift complete the field.

As for the aforementioned Billesdon Brook, the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, rather than the Prix de Diane, appears to be her preferred option. Trainer Richard Hannon said: “The only decision that was made was not to go for the Irish Guineas. The Coronation and the Prix de Diane – it is between the two of them.

“Do I think she will get a mile and-a-quarter? It is in her pedigree, she is very easy and there is a chance she might get it. It is a toss up between the two races. She is in great form. Personally my preference is the Coronation, but I’d be very happy to have a runner with a good chance in the Diane.”