Prix de Diane Longines: Channel storms to victory in Chantilly spectacle

CNN  — 

Channel stormed to victory at this year’s Prix de Diane, one of Europe’s most prestigious horse races, to win a share of the $1.13 million prize purse.

The Francis Graffard-trained three-year-old, ridden by Pierre Charles-Boudot, held on despite a late surge from the rest of the field with Commes finishing particularly fast.

Race favorite Siyarafina struggled against a strong 16-horse field, perhaps hampered by the wide draw. Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori also failed to impress aboard Entitle.

“It’s just unbelievable, I’m so pleased,” Graffard told At The Races after the race. “It’s all teamwork, my staff at home work really hard every day.

“I was saying to my wife that you do this sort of job to live these type of moments. When you are at these moments, you think ‘why do I do this crazy job, it’s too much pressure’. I know why I’m doing it now.”

Channel, riden by Jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot, crosses the finish line first to win the 170th Prix de Diane.

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The Prix de Diane is the highlight on a nine-race card, a celebration of equine excellence and French fashion elegance in the surrounds of the majestic Chantilly estate.

It tests the very finest fillies in the world but Sunday’s event, dripping in glitz and glamor, is so much more than sport.

It’s also an opportunity for spectators to bask in the sophistication of a Parisian race day, where the outfits and hats are as much in focus as the horses.

The timeless Chantilly Racecourse offers a fairytale setting for the festival of racing, with the overlooking Grand Chateau one of the most spectacular historical monuments in the world.

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The contest itself a 2,100-meter (1 mile 2½ furlongs) race for three-year-old fillies and the winner often takes part in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe later on in the year.

The course includes an exhausting uphill home straight where many races are won and lost.