The Darley Prix Jean Romanet (Gr1), on Sunday at Deauville, is open to aged mares over 1m2f. Created in 2004, the race is still young but it is part of a circuit promoting the best females in Europe, and its record already counts some champions like Pride, Satwa Queen (the only one who appears twice on the chart), Stacelita or Izzi Top. Different profiles are found in the list. Only three of the fifteen winners did it at 5 years old. Some had participated in the classic program in the spring, others, on the contrary, reached the top through this contest. Five of the last seven winners came from Great Britain.
They are nine at the start this year, four of whom are trained in France. The favourite will probably be the English raider Coronet (Dubawi) though. A winner at the end of June of the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Gr1) over 1m4f, she has not raced over 10 furlongs since May 2017 and her third place in the Prix Saint-Alary (Gr1), which was run on this very course.
Her fellow from Britain Wild Illusion (Dubawi), winner last year at 3 of the Nassau Stakes (Gr1) and the Prix de l’Opéra (Gr1) on the same distance, finished only sixth and fourth on her two outings this season at the best level.
I Can Fly (Fastnet Rock), on the other hand, finished third in the Sussex Stakes (Gr1) against the males over the mile lately, and before that in the Falmouth Stakes (Gr1), another mile race but only against females. Yet she failed at her two previous attempts above a mile.
With You (Dansili) is the best French chance. George Strawbridge’s homebred has finished six times 1st, 2nd or 3rd in nine races, but she has not won since the 2018 Prix Rothschild (Gr1). Her trainer Freddy Head extended her to 10 furlongs last season in the Prix de l’Opéra (Gr1), on Arc weekend, when she finished fourth to Wild Illusion. Beaten for her comeback, she has just taken a promising second place in the Prix Rothschild (Gr1) by finishing well after being raised early.
Worth Waiting (Bated Breath) won a Group 2 for her comeback in May in England, but she failed dramatically in a Group 1, since then, just as she did in her previous attempt at this level, in the Prix Vermeille last season.
Six-year-old Red Tea (Sakhee) won a Group 2 over 9f at The Curragh in Ireland last time, but her rating remains the lowest amongst the visitors.
Spirit of Nelson (Mount Nelson) just beat Musis Amica (Dawn Approach) in the designed prep race, The Prix de la Pépinière (L).
Nisreen (Raven’s Pass), finally, makes his return and has never run at this level.