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France's Etoile 6-1 for Prix de Diane as Rouget adds to Classic hand

Prix Cleopatre (Group 3) 3yo fillies | 1m2½f

In what must be a very rare occurrence in the annals of the turf, Etoile became the second filly of that name to win a Group race within the space of 24 hours. 

But after Etoile [IRE] landed the Coolmore Sprint Stakes for Aidan O'Brien at Naas on Sunday, the year-older Etoile [FR] scored here in taking style under Cristian Demuro, pulling a length and three-quarters clear of Villa D'Amore and Volshka, who were engaged in a tight battle for second. 

Any confusion surrounding her name was the last thing on Jean-Claude Rouget's mind as he reflected not only on a perfect prep for the Prix de Diane Longines but on his burgeoning squad for the race. 

"That was better than just proof that she stays, it confirmed everything we'd hoped it would," said Rouget. "What she did over the winter was against average horses and the Prix Vanteaux [where she was second] was better. This was another step up again. 

"She is a handy filly who has a lot of energy but who makes life easy on herself during the run. It was all over quickly when she got to the front and she won easily."

In much the way Andre Fabre has dominated the prep races for the Qipco Prix du Jockey Club, Rouget looks set to be extremely well armed for the Diane, for which Paddy Power introduced Etolie as a 6-1 shot. 

"This race falls perfectly as a prep run and she passed the test well," said Rouget. "I'm very happy because I have a marvellous bunch of fillies and, barring accidents, I'll have four runners in the Diane, all with good chances. It's never happened to me before."

Rouget's four star fillies

Etoile (won G3 Prix Cleopatre)
Commes (second in the G1 Emirates Poule d'Essai des Pouliches)
Cartiem (won Prix Penelope)
Ebony (second in Prix de la Chapelle-en-Serval)
Prix Corrida (Group 2) 4yo+ fillies & mares | 1m2½f

Morgan Le Faye's reinvention by Andre Fabre as a middle-distance filly of very high calibre continued with a straightforward success under Mickael Barzalona. 

One of France's top stayers last season and out of a former Cadran winner in Molly Malone, Morgan Le Faye added Group 2 winner to her laurels, defeating Listen In by two lengths, with perennial rival Shahnaza a further short neck away in third. 

"She is unbeaten this year and she now has her Group 2 so it's great," said Godolphin's Lisa-Jane Graffard. "She travelled well and picked up in good style.

"She may have been a tiny bit less impressive on the very soft ground and we'll wait and see how she comes out of the race. Monsieur Fabre is weighing up the choice of either taking on the colts or else waiting for the good fillies and mares races later in the season, but either way logically at Group 1 level."

That decision would appear to rest between the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud over a mile and a half at the end of June, or sex-restricted contests such as the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville and the Prix de l'Opera on Arc day.

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