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Horse Racing: Goldikova shines as Henry fails to fire.

Byline: Desmond Stoneham reports

ALL good things must come to an end, and the superlative run of Henrythenavigator in Group 1s this year hit the buffers when soft ground left him high and dry in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.

The 6-4 favourite looked uncomfortable early on, with Johnny Murtagh low in the saddle as the pair entered the straight last but one, leaving Goldikova to give trainer Freddie Head his sixth Group 1 of the summer.

Given a fine ride by Olivier Peslier, the 3-1 second favourite fought out the final furlong with Darjina, winning by half a length.

Despite struggling for room, the Richard Hannon-trained Paco Boy held on for third under Richard Hughes, with Sageburg back in fourth ahead of the dual Guineas winner.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien cited the ground as a reason for Henrythenavigator's below-par effort, saying: "It was touch and go whether we would let him take his chance on the soft ground.

"It was really a last-minute decision and a very close one as he loves fast ground.

"He could never engage top gear and couldn't get hold of the turf. We'll now have a look at the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot.His only three defeats have come on similar ground to this."

Continuing the fantastic run of Group 1 wins for Head - this was his eighth in total in just over two years - Goldikova was taking her second Group 1 of the season, and beating colts for the first time.

Goldikova paid a considerable compliment to Zarkava, who had beaten her in both the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane, and could now be aimed at the Breeders' Cup.

Goldikova was cut to 5-1 or 6-1 for the Mile by Blue Square, Stan James, Ladbrokes and Sky Bet, while Darjina was also the subject of price cuts.

Head said: "I think it would be safe to say now that I have the best female and male three-year-old milers in Europe as, apart from Goldikova, I also train Tamayuz, who goes for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes later this month.

"Goldikova will now go either for the Breeders' Cup Mile or the longer Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita. She very nearly stayed the trip of the Prix de Diane 1m21/2f."

Darjina, taking the runner-up spot for the fifth time this season, may now head to Ascot.

"There were no excuses and we were beaten by a better horse, but maybe the ground wasn't quite in our favour," said trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.

"We're now going to wait for good ground. She could go to Ascot for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but on both our previous visits to Ascot the going has been against her."

Paco Boy proved up to Group 1 standard, finishing best of all, and assistant trainer Richard Hannon jnr said: "There's undoubtedly a Group 1 race in him. We might now go for either the Queen Elizabeth II or the Prix de la Foret and then maybe the Breeders' Cup Mile, as the owners are keen on the idea. He'll stay in training as a four-year-old."

Sageburg was not running over his best trip, and now goes for the longer Prix Dollar back at this track on October 4.

Sixth-home Natagora, running in her third Group race in five weeks, could go for the Prix Foret.

"We had a very good race and we were always just behind Darjina, but she couldn't produce her normal turn of foot," said rider Christophe Lemaire.

The Mark Johnston-trained Lovelace, who finished seventh, was running for the second time in five days, and Jamie Spencer said: "It was horrible, sticky ground and he was never going well."

Result Prix du Moulin de Longchamp

1 Goldikova ........3-1

2 Darjina..............8-1

3 Paco Boy............7-2

Owner/breeders

Wertheimer brothers

Trainer Freddie Head

Jockey Olivier Peslier

Groom Elodie Lejeune

Distances 1/2l, 1l

'She held the runner-up with a bit to spare and should continue on the upgrade'

CAPTION(S):

Goldikova and Olivier Peslier (left) hold off Darjina (noseband) and the rest of the field, including eventual fifth Henrythenavigator (far right), in yesterday's Prix du Moulin DAN ABRAHAM/RACINGFOTOS.COM
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 8, 2008
Words:699
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