Channel dug deep to claim Classic glory in the Longines-sponsored Prix De Diane at Chantilly.
A strong field of 16 fillies went to post for the French Oaks, with Alain de Royer-Dupre’s Siyarafina the red-hot favourite to maintain her unbeaten record, while British hopes were carried by Roger Varian’s Nausha and John Gosden’s Entitle – first and second in the Musidora at York last month.
In a race run at a modest pace, Nausha met traffic problems early on and pulled fiercely for her head for the remainder of the contest before fading out of contention.
Frankie Dettori rode a patient race aboard Entitle – a half-sister to the brilliant Enable – but she was never in a position to throw down a serious challenge and finished in midfield.
Siyarafina was trapped wide for much of the 10-furlong journey and while she looked poised to throw down a serious challenge early in the home straight, she ultimately failed to pick up the leaders and it was Francis-Henri Graffard’s 9-1 shot Channel who emerged victorious under Pierre-Charles Boudot – just denying Commes in a thrilling finish.