Goldikova keeps Head buoyant at Deauville

It has not quite been an annus mirabilis to rival that at Ballydoyle, but no one at 4, Avenue du General Leclerc will be complaining. The master of that Chantilly training establishment, Freddy Head, yesterday brought his Group One tally to three in 24 days when Goldikova upstaged two Classic-winning rivals, Darjina and Natagora, to take the Prix Rothschild. The filly followed the elite hoofprints of her stablemates Marchand D'Or, winner of the July Cup, and Tamayuz, who took the Prix Jean Prat.

Head is most unfairly best-remembered in these parts as the jockey who failed to negotiate Tattenham Corner on much-fancied Lyphard in the 1972 Derby. But he also rode three winners of the 1,000 Guineas, so clearly knows a talented filly when he sees one. "I did expect a performance of this calibre," he said of Goldikova's decisive half-length success. "She has progressed a lot since the spring."

The fact that the Head stable hare, Spring Touch, could not go fast enough to get to the front mattered not one jot. Natagora dispelled any worries about a false French gallop down the straight seaside mile at Deauville as she reprised the trailblazing tactics that brought her victory in the 1,000 Guineas, but at a much more ferocious pace. Going to the final furlong she could give no more and Olivier Peslier, who had stationed Goldikova in her slipstream, pulled round and quickened away.

Darjina, with Christophe Soumillon on board, followed, but what might have been a head-to-head tussle came to nothing as Goldikova drifted slightly right to the centre of the course, away from Peslier's whip, and Darjina markedly left, towards the stand-side rail. Natagora came in two lengths adrift, with Mark Johnston-trained Nahoodh an unthreatening fourth, another three lengths back.

"Natagora went far too fast for our leader, but I got a good position anyway," said Peslier. "Mine was looking about a bit in the final furlong, but that is normal on a straight course, and why I changed my whip."

Head, who retired from the saddle 11 years ago, on his 50th birthday, had his first Group One success when Marchand D'Or won the Prix Maurice de Gheest in 2006, and his second with the same humbly bred grey gelding, now Europe's top sprinter, in the same race 12 months ago.

As a daughter of Anabaa from the Wertheimer family of another top miler, Gold Splash, Goldikova has a heritage to match her talent. "She was able to follow the pace without being too keen," added Head, "She is an exceptional filly with a lot of speed."

Goldikova's step up the hierarchy, though, only threw the ability of Zarkava, comfortably her mistress in the French Guineas and Oaks earlier in the year, into sharper relief. And the pair are unlikely to meet again, though, to test Head's view of his charge's improvement; Zarkava now has middle-distance prizes in her sights.

Darjina, Zarkava's year-older Alain de Royer-Dupré stablemate, was undoubtedly inconvenienced by the watering-softened ground; indeed, her participation was at one stage in doubt. It was the fourth time in as many runs this term, all at the highest level, that last year's French Guineas winner had found one too good.

But although the gamble at Ballydoyle in keeping another of last year's distaff stars, now-retired Peeping Fawn, in training did not materialise, a four-year-old season for tough, globetrotting Darjina has paid off. Her second places in the Dubai Duty Free, Prix d'Ispahan, Queen Anne Stakes and yesterday's Deauville feature have earned her nearly £700,000, more than doubling her career haul. And given the right underfoot conditions, her turn in front will come again.

With the likes of Zarkava, Goldikova, Natagora and Darjina in France, and Moonstone, Halfway To Heaven and Lush Lashes in Ireland, it will be up to Look Here to fly the flag for British filly pride in the Yorkshire Oaks next week. The Epsom heroine may be abetted in her task by Passage Of Time, who ran with such credit behind Halfway To Heaven and Lush Lashes when third in Saturday's Nassau Stakes.

Johnny Murtagh, whose golden year was allegorised in a hebdomas mirabile at Goodwood – a record-equalling eight winners, including the three features on the Ballydoyle trio Henrythenavigator, Yeats and Halfway To Heaven – took a day off yesterday to recharge. His stable's assault on top-level winner No18 for the year will come on Mount Nelson in the Arlington Million in Chicago at the weekend.

On successive Saturdays, Murtagh's alertness has brought victory to horses stepping up in distance for the first time, though in contrasting tactical styles. Duke Of Marmalade won by coming from off a true gallop, Halfway To Heaven by dictating more slowly. After the Nassau Stakes, the Irishman, fitter and more content than he has ever been, revealed that he had travelled twice as far as the filly that day. "I went two miles five [furlongs] round the course that morning," he said. "I enjoy running, it keeps me physically right and clears my head. And keeps me sharp mentally."

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

English Teacher- Manchester

£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes