Connections of Goldikova refused to make excuses after the brilliant mare was forced to play second fiddle to exciting youngster Immortal Verse in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

Freddie Head's Goldikova was bidding for a remarkable 15th career victory at Group or Grade One level, and looking to atone for an odds-on reverse in this straight mile contest 12 months ago.

Despite the testing conditions not being in her favour, all appeared to be going swimmingly for Olivier Peslier's mount, with the six-year-old travelling kindly in behind the leaders.

Once pulled out to challenge, Goldikova swept past those in front of her with relative ease, but the danger was to come from her left on the near rail.

Gerald Mosse sat last in the early stages on Robert Collett's Coronation Stakes heroine Immortal Verse, a filly three years younger than her esteemed rival and in receipt of 7lb.

She made eyecatching headway towards the stands side and once Mosse pushed the button, the Robert Collet-trained filly quickened up in quite brilliant style to put the race to bed.

Goldikova and Sahpresa tried their best to come back at the leader as the line approached, but Immortal Verse was much too strong on the day.

A return to Churchill Downs and a bid for a remarkable fourth straight victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile is top of Goldikova's agenda, but she is likely to have one more run in France beforehand.

Pierre-Yves Bureau, racing manager to owners the Wertheimer Brothers, said: "First of all we must say 'well done' to the winner.

"Immortal Verse won well in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot and is a very good, fresh, three-year-old filly.

"There's not a lot to say about Goldikova. She was beaten by a very good filly and it's hard to find excuses. She seemed OK and we'll see her again.

"Where she goes now will be up to Freddie. She will need to have one more run before the Breeders' Cup. Whether it is maybe the Prix du Moulin or the Prix de la Foret, Freddie will decide."

There was British interest in the race but neither Richard Hannon's Dick Turpin or Cityscape from the Roger Charlton yard could trouble the principals, coming home seventh and eighth respectively.

Charlton said: "I was a bit disappointed with him really. He got a little tired at the end and just wasn't good enough. We'll have to find something else for him now."

Although out of luck with the stable star, Head, Peslier and the Wertheimers did strike with her half-sister Galikova in the Prix Guillaume D'Ornano.

The three-year-old was bidding to exact revenge on Andre Fabre's Golden Lilac, who was a narrow victor when the pair met in the French Oaks at Chantilly.

The latter looked set to confirm the form rounding the turn for home as she appeared to be travelling within herself, but could not pick up when it mattered.

Peslier stuck wide on Galikova and while the response was not totally immediate when he asked for maximum effort, his mount eventually found top gear and picked up her pacemaker Slow Pace to score decisively.
The previously unbeaten Golden Lilac was well held in third.

Bureau added: "It was almost a very good day. We were very, very pleased with Galikova. Freddie was very happy with her preparation before the race and he was quite confident.

"It looked a very strong field with Golden Lilac in the opposition and she won without much problem.

"She will now go to the Prix Vermeille."

Paddy Power cut Galikova to 11-1 from 16-1 to beat the boys again in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, although connections will see how she fares next time before committing her to a run in the Longchamp showpiece.

"We will take it step by step. We were thinking of the Prix Vermeille, and we'll see what happens after that," said Bureau.

Peslier's victory on Galikova proved the highlight of a fantastic four-timer on the card for the rider.