Aidan O’Brien toasted a Father’s Day to savour
after following in son Donnacha’s Prix de Diane footsteps and winning the race
for the first time in his career, writes Will Jennings.
The French Oaks was the only English, Irish or French Classic the master of Ballydoyle was still chasing but Joan Of Arc romped to victory on Sunday to cap a thrilling clean sweep.
Veteran jockey Ioritz Mendizabal, who combined with O’Brien to win the Prix du Jockey Club with St. Mark’s Basilica two weeks ago, piloted the talented three-year-old to glory after delivering a tactical masterclass in Chantilly.
Donnacha, 22, claimed the French showpiece aboard Fancy Blue last year and dad Aidan – a 40-time winner in the English Classics – finally emulated his triumph to banish his Prix de Diane demons.
Evergreen Mendizabal, 47, showed all his experience in the saddle and the journeyman jockey said: "I'm really happy.
“I ride for Aidan and every time he comes in with a fantastic horse. For a jockey, it makes the job easy.
“I got a good start and waited a little bit because it was [Joan Of Arc’s] first time over a long distance. He's incredible.
“300m before the finish post I wasn't sure I'd win, but I won easily.”
Mendizabal established a promising position from the off after coming out of the stalls smoothly in the salubrious Chantilly surroundings.
He tucked Joan Of Arc in behind the leaders and waited patiently with his finger on the trigger up until the two furlong pole.
Joan Of Arc always looked perfectly poised for a late assault on the lead and despite initially trailing Christopher Head’s Sibila Spain, Mendizabal reeled her in to claim his second Classic in the space of two weeks.
The Andre Fabre-trained duo of Philomene and Burgarita finished second and third but it was all about Joan Of Arc, who handed O’Brien yet more major glory after Love and Point Lonsdale had triumphed at Royal Ascot this week.
Her victory also marked yet another Classic for super sire Galileo, who continues to churn out stars of the Flat at an astonishing rate at Coolmore Stud.
And Galileo wasn’t the only decorated dad celebrating on Father’s Day, as O’Brien finally ended his Prix de Diane drought to claim a long-awaited victory in the French showpiece.