The victory of Coolmore-bred Joan Of Arc (4/1) in the Group 1 Prix de Diane Longines at Chantilly on Sunday was a significant winner for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien as it gave the champion handler a career sweep of all the Classics in Ireland, Britain and France.
This season alone O’Brien has won both the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix de Diane Longines for the first time, while he also won the French 2000 Guineas, meaning he has won the same number of Classics so far in 2021 in France as he has in Ireland (1) and Britain (2) combined.
The Ballydoyle trainer has provided Spanish jockey Ioritz Mendizabal with three Group 1 Classic wins this season, the French 2000 Guineas (St Mark’s Basilica), French Derby (St Mark’s Basilica) and French Oaks (Joan Of Arc).
Joan Of Arc beat another Irish-bred, Philomene, by three-quarters of a length, with another head back to Burgarita in third place, with Sibila Spain a further half-length behind in fourth., The victory was hugely significant from a breeding perspective.
She is by Coolmore’s perennial champion sire Galileo out of You’resothrilling (by Storm Cat), a full sister to the US-bred ‘Iron Horse’ Giant’s Causeway. You’resothrilling has an enviable record as a broodmare, having produced seven foals, all by Galileo.
The record of her progeny is astounding: among them she has 3 Classic winners, 4 Group 1 winners, 6 Group winners, and the other winner that didn’t win a Group 1 race was runner-up in a Classic. Her foals were Gleneagles, Marvellous, Happily, Taj Mahal, Vatican City, Coolmore, and of course, Joan Of Arc.
Joan of Arc, a seven-time runner, was prominent throughout the French Classic, and was kept just off the leader and eventual fourth place finisher, and daughter of Juddmonte Farms’ Frankel, Sibila Spain, throughout.
Though at one stage the Ballydoyle filly – in her first race outside of Ireland – may have looked beaten, she battled bravely inside the final furlong, before moving ahead to seal the victory.
Joan Of Arc was runner-up on her juvenile debut on the All-Weather at Dundalk in November last year. She won her maiden first time out this season (21 March 2021), over 7 furlongs at The Curragh, before only managing sixth place in the 16-runner Group 3 Ballylinch Stud “Priory Belle” 1000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Leopardstown on 11 April.
She returned to winning ways when taking the Group 3 Irish Guineas Trial over a mile, again at Leopardstown, a few weeks later. Joan Of Arc went down fighting, by a short-head, to her stable companion, Empress Josephine, in the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh on 23 May.
The winning 2021 Prix de Diane winning trainer Aidan O’Brien declared himself “absolutely delighted (and) so delighted for everyone” following the filly’s success. “She’s a homebred filly, so it’s incredible really”, added the Ballydoyle handler.
Commenting on his recent successful partnership with Mendizabal, O’Brien told France Galop:
“Ioritz Mendizabal is someone very intelligent, a real horseman and whenever we have had the chance to work with him; it really puts us at ease. He is a world class jockey. According to Ioritz, she shouldn’t have a problem stepping up. The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe could therefore be a possibility for her. We have a lot of very good three-year-olds this year, it’s very exciting.”
Ioritz Mendizabal, who has now won three French Classics for Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore this season, told Sky Sports Racing:
“Every time he (Aidan O’Brien) comes with a fantastic horse. For the jockey, he makes the job easy. The horse is very easy. She is incredible.”
Photos: Courtesy of Breandán Ó hUallacháin