On paper, the Anglo-Irish party seems to dominate the LARC Prix Maurice de Gheest (Gr1), Sunday at Deauville over a straight 6 1/2 furlongs course. Ten of the fifteen runners come from Great Britain and Ireland, and their average rating is 112lbs, against 110lbs for the four French entries. However, among them is the titleholder Polydream (Oasis Dream), representing Wertheimer & Frère, who has just come back to winning ways in the Prix de la Porte Maillot (Gr3) over 7 furlongs at ParisLongchamp.
In this race between generations and open to all sexes, females have enjoyed great success. In the last five renewals, they accounted for only one fifth of the runners, but one-third of the placed horses.
The best British challenger is certainly the three-year-old Advertise (Showcasing). Trained by Martyn Meade, he reached his maximum 119 lbs rating on all his three last outings, most recently by taking the second place in the Darley July Cup (Gr1), over 6 furlongs at Newmarket. The 12 runners of that race, the best in England over this distance in the Summer, had an average rating of 113lbs whereas right now, the fifteen suitors lining up in the LARC Prix Maurice de Gheest boast an average rating of 111lbs.
This season, for the moment, older horses have generally dominated the 3-year-old battalions, but over Newmarket’s 6 furlongs, the 3-year-olds have avenged themselves. The LARC Maurice de Gheest Award is generally quite favourable to 3-year-olds, who have won four of the last 15 editions and have provided a third of the horses placed in the last five editions, in line with their participation rate of 35 %.
The French team can also count on King Malpic (King’s Best), who has just beaten the redoubtable Inns of Court, injured since, in the Prix de Ris-Orangis (Gr3), but he’s now on level weight with his opponents, which changes a lot. Munitions (War Front) finished fourth in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat (Gr1) won by Too Darn Hot recently, over 7 frulongs.Spinning Memories (Arcano), has been well beaten by Polydream. She has never run at this level.
In the English side, Invincible Army (Invincible Spirit) is the second best-rated horse. If one forgets, as recommended by his connections, his failure at Royal Ascot, he is undefeated in three outings this season including one last, impressive one, in a Listed event at Newcastle. One Master (Fastnet Rock) has been shortened for the first time since her victory over the Qatar Prix de la Forêt (Gr1)’s 7 furlongs, the day of the Arc at ParisLongchamp. She has just been beaten by veracious, after a long struggle in the Falmouth Stakes (Gr1) over Newmarket July’s mile.
Brando (Pivotal) won the race two years ago and this good finisher is still able to beat anything when at his best. Mr Lupton (Elnadim) seems a bit outclassed here.
Amongst the British three-year-olds, Pretty Pollyanna (Oasis Dream) won the Darley Prix Morny on this course at 2, and she has been in every fight this season but she has not won again since Deauville. Space Blues (Dubawi) has just finished a good second to Too Darn Hot in the Qatar Jean Prat and he can still progress. Fox Champion (Kodiac) led most of the way in the Qatar Jean Prat and finally finished third. A hundred yards less to run could play in his favour. Fifth in the same “Jean Prat”, the German raider Namos (Medicean) tries to redeem himself.
From Ireland comes the ex-French Le Brivido (Siyouni), the fifth of two Groups 1 four days apart at the Ascot royal meeting. After two long breaks of nine months and one year, he takes time to recover. His Stablemate at Aidan O’Brien’s yard, the three-year-old filly So Perfect (Scat Daddy) finished fifth in the July Cup.
Another highlight of Sunday’s meeting, the Prix Valparaiso Sporting Club – Prix de Reux(Gr3) is a “small” Grand Prix Deauville (Gr2), also run over 2,500 meters, that is an extended mile-and-a-half trip, by runners aged 3 years and over. Eight are confirmed to claim’s Finche’s succession.