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Althiqa gets the better of Summer Romance again in G1 Diana Stakes

Racenews

Althiqa caught Summer Romance close home again as the duo finished first and second for a second consecutive time in the nine-furlong G1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga, USA, on Saturday, 17 July.

The Charlie Appleby-trained four-year-olds had fought out the finish to the mile G1 Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, 5 June, when Summer Romance cut out the running before being headed half a furlong out by Althiqa.

Summer Romance once again adopted her usual front-running tactics under Luis Saez, with Althiqa settling in sixth on the outside of the field for Manny Franco.

Althiqa took closer order leaving the back straight and accelerated strongly down the centre of the track entering the final furlong, heading her stable-companion with just over half a furlong to race.

Summer Romance rallied but could not go on with Althiqa, who saw out the trip cosily to score by three-quarters of a length – the same margin as her victory in the Just a Game Stakes.

Charlie Appleby said: “Althiqa and Summer Romance produced great performances again and full credit to the team out there led by Sophie Chretien. Althiqa saw out the nine furlongs really well, while Summer Romance ran another excellent race and can hopefully pick up a G1 at some point. 

“We will make a decision about whether to stay at Saratoga or ship them back to the UK and have a look at Keeneland in the autumn. They have both been on the go for a while, so we will see how they come out of this race, but we are delighted with what they have achieved already this year.”

Sophie Chretien of Godolphin said: “We had two big G1 targets with these fillies and we couldn’t have done better. Summer Romance didn’t win the rematch with Althiqa, but what I realised with Althiqa with all the time she’s been with us, she is becoming stronger physically and mentally. Summer Romance is a lot more of a nervous filly.

“It’s a great feeling. It’s my first time coming to America and you don’t know the tracks, but these horses are smart. You just have to listen to them.”

Manny Franco said: “I just wanted to wait as long as I could with Althiqa because I knew the distance was further than her last race. The trip was the question, but she did it. She was so relaxed behind horses and then she gave me a nice move and a nice kick.”