Mid-week action heads to France for the start of a fantastic month of racing at Deauville, one of the most beautiful racing cities in the world. If you don’t believe me, watch TVG when they play the commercials for the Arqana sales.
For the entire month of August, racing in France centers around Deauville, featuring a slew of influential group one races including the Prix Morny, Prix Jacques Le Marois, Prix Maurice de Gheest and several others. This Tuesday kicks off the season headlined by the GI Prix Rothschild for the fillies and mares. We see the return of the English and French 1000 Guineas winners, as well as several young fillies who make the big step up into group one company. Beautiful beaches and world class racing, what more could you ask for!
Race 1 – GIII Darley Prix De Cabourg – 6 Furlongs, 2 YOs
2 – Nirliit – Maxime Guyon rides this one for the third time after a step up to listed company last time out. That race came over bogged down ground at Deauville and he ran on well going an extra furlong. Drops back to 6 furlongs and will get a bit less give in the ground but enough to suit what he has experienced so far. Has a good record at Saint Cloud but after that last effort, I think he will take to the course and distance at Deauville.
3 – Sam Maximus – Ships over from the UK and jockey PJ Mcdonald makes the trip with him. Has ridden this runner in all three career starts, including a strong placing in the GII July Stakes at Newmarket. She was defeated by two quality two-year-olds in Lusail and Asymmetric, the latter coming back to win the GII Richmond Stakes at Goodwood last week. Does handle firmer ground so the condition today could be a question, but we are still unsure of whether the softer going will make any difference.
5 – Trident – Was impressive over heavy ground at Longchamp on debut. Trainer Andre Fabre gives this runner a slight turn back in distance today. Sire Wootton Bassett has continued to produce strong young progeny and appreciated soft going during his career, which is what should be coming today at Deauville. There should be a lot less moisture in the ground than he experienced on debut, but enough where it will play to his benefit.
Race 3 – GIII Prix Six Perfections – 7 Furlongs, 2 Year Olds
3 – Zellie – Another young progeny of Wootton Bassett in the Andre Fabre yard has found success early. An unbeaten 3 for 3 so far, Zellie was extremely impressive in the Prix Roland De Chambure last time out over course and distance. Moved a bit wide when making the winning move that day but showed a strong turn of foot in the straight. Everything looks to suit this runner. Deserving favorite in this field.
5 – Miss Cleopatra – Made a big step up in distance from 5 furlongs to 7 furlongs, as well as a step up in class. After winning back to back in allowance company at Le Lion and Bordeaux Le Bouscat, she picked up the ride of Cristian Demuro and stepped up to Deauville. She put together a big effort behind Zellie who was not being beaten on the day. Morning line has this runner at 20/1 and although there is no way you will get that in this field, the value will still be there and she will improve 2nd up at the distance.
4 – Daneh – This runner hasn’t proved a ton just yet but really caught the eye after a dominant debut win over the all weather at Kempton. Will be first up on the grass but handled the distance well that day. Breeding is strong by Dubawi out of the multiple group one winning mare, Rizeena, a winner of the GI Moyglare Stud, GI Coronation & GII Queen Mary. This young filly has a lot of promise.
Race 4 – GI Prix Rothschild – 1 Mile, 3 & Up Fillies & Mares
9 – Novemba – The winner of this year’s German 1000 Guineas, Novemba has good speed and a lot of ability. Was impressed by her effort back at Dusseldorf in the guineas, but was even more impressed when they sent her for a crack at GI Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. For the most part, German shippers attacking major races in England, France and Ireland don’t often have much success. However, she ran a bang up race on the lead in the Coronation and was only beaten a few lengths by three talented runners in GI Nassau winner, Alcohol Free, GI Falmouth winner, Snow Lantern and 1000 Guineas winner, Mother Earth. She will face Mother Earth again today, but as long as she doesn’t get sped out on the lead, she has every chance to turn the tables.
8 – Mother Earth – Has put together really strong efforts but has not found the winner’s enclosure in over 3 starts. Her main triumph came at Newmarket when she took out the first female classic of the season, the English 1000 Guineas. From a 2nd in the GI Poule d’Essai des Pouliches(French Guineas) to a strong effort at the Breeders’ Cup, she just has had some trouble getting the job done. A string of group one runs has made her one of the best fillies in the country. The Coolmore crew has had lots of success this season shipping to France to take out major races and Mother Earth could be lined up for just that, but she will have beat the German invader first.
1 – Sagamiyra – Had put together 4 straight wins prior to a narrow defeat at Chantilly in the GIII Prix Bertrand Du Breuil. Defeated by a talented french galloper in Ecrivain that day, Sagamiyra kept the ride of jockey Christophe Soumillon, who also rode Tahlie, a winner of 4 straight going into today. Pedigree says she has the ability to get further but her debut run was the only disappointing effort of her career and it came at 1 3/8 Miles. The decision to shorten up seems to have been the right call and it looks the right time for this filly to take a shot at group one glory.
Race 5 – GIII Prix De Psyche – 1 1/4 Miles, 3 YO Fillies
5 – The Blue Brilliant – Will drop in distance after the effort in handicap company at Killarney. Has won both starts when facing older and makes her first trip outside of Ireland. Has form on soft and good ground which should be similar to Deauville today. Regular stable jockey for Jessica Harrington, Shane Foley is making the trip over and has helped to continue the progression of this runner. The biggest question will be if she can step up in company, I personally think she will.
6 – Mystery Angel – The “Best of the rest” horse behind the dominant Epsom Oaks win by Snowfall, this filly put together a bit of a disappointing effort on the pace in the GII Lancashire Oaks at Haydock. That effort came over a mile and a half, as did her major effort in the Oaks. She has performed well over this distance and comes back from the mile and a half today. No Ben Curtis this time, but James Doyle, who rides Parent’s Prayer in the group one, takes the mount.
8 – Penja – Has been excellent throughout her career minus one effort, that came in group one company. Although it was technically a big step up for Penja, the form around the GI Prix Saint Alary has been poor as of late. Does have a win over course and distance and should have little trouble staying the trip. Ground should suit as well. I am not overly sold on Penja as the favorite in the field but there is some ability there, just don’t know if that ability is ready for stakes company.
Race 6 – Prix Carrousel – 1 7/8 Miles, 4 & Up
2 – Stag Horn – Is yet to win at stakes level however has put together some great efforts in handicap company. Archie Watson has continued to extend this runner in distance all the way up to 2 3/4 Miles last time at Ascot. In my opinion, Stag Horn belongs between 1 3/4 Miles and 2 Miles and after the extended distance, gets back to that ideal trip. Tried one step up into stakes company in April and was defeated by Stradivarius. That field from the Sagaro has not been the best form guide this season, however they were struggling at group one level. This is listed company and at this distance, Stag Horn is a major contender.
3 – Brokeback Mountain – Had been running well in listed company at a mile and a half and took the trip over to Germany to contest two miles. Raced in the GII Oleander Stakes in Germany against a decent field and was a strong third behind a talented german galloper in Rip Van Lips. Rip Van Lips at the time was so highly thought of that he was shipped to Royal Ascot to run in the Gold Cup. Unfortunately, he was a lackluster 10th but this level is a lot different than losing to Subjectivist. Brokeback Mountain handled that step up well and should handle this trip and track extremely well.
8 – Nagano Gold – The key with this runner will be the longer distance. Has not performed overly well recently in several high level group races behind some of Europe’s top stayers. Drops back in class considerably and moves up in distance. If this was the old Nagano Gold, it would be very worrying to see him struggle in those big races. However, at the age of 7, I think a drop to listed company will really suit and based on ability he still belongs in stakes company, albeit not in group ones.