The Prix Jacques Le Marois takes centre stage on the Deauville card. Patrick Weaver looks at the five Group and Listed races with English runners and riders...
"Shafaaf has beaten modest horses stylishly at Clairefontaine and Compiegne and should be better still at 10 furlongs as her pedigree goes back to classy Height Of Fashion and Nashwan."
When the winners of the two Group Ones for colts at Royal Ascot meet, it is as often as not in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. This season, though, it is Deauville rather than the Sussex track that has been blessed with the head-to-head between Palace Pier and Poetic Flare.
But it would be wrong to think the Prix Jacques Le Marois at 14:50 is a two-horse race as there are three other Group One winners in the line-up: Order Of Australia, Victor Ludorum and the four-year-old filly Alpine Star.
Palace Pier has the strongest credentials having recently won the Lockinge from Lady Bowthorpe and the Queen Anne Stakes from Lope Y Fernandez. Arguably his best performance of 2020 was in winning this race last year by three-quarters of a length from Alpine Star. Jessica Harrington's filly is really consistent and her last four defeats have all been by less than a length. Prior to that, she had won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot by four lengths.
Palace Pier will have to be at his brilliant best to hold her challenge, and indeed that of Poetic Flare.
Poetic Flare won the St James's Palace Stakes in June and the 2,000 Guineas in May but he is not infallible. He was sixth in the French 2,000, and then narrowly beaten in the Irish 2,000 and the Sussex Stakes. Like Alpine Star, he goes down fighting but you feel only his best will do up against Palace Pier.
The Godolphin pair Victor Ludorum and Midtown will have their followers.
The former may have peaked as his form has not been as strong since winning the French 2,000 and being placed in the French Derby last summer. He won a Group 3 from Brentford Hope but that was no more than you would expect, and not enough to trouble the market leaders.
William Buick's mount, Midtown was favourite for the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat last month, but Laws Of Indices and Thunder Moon drew away from him in the final 100 yards. He is going to have to improve a stone to maintain his record of always finishing in the first three.
Ryan Moore has flown over for one mount, Order Of Australia. He might as well have stayed at home, though, on this year's form in England having finished well behind Palace Pier at Ascot and Poetic Flare at Goodwood.
If there is to be an upset, it could come via Chindit. He has not had a clear run in two of the three Group 1s he has contested and I fancy him to finish nearer first than last. He needs to improve to be placed, for sure, but at 28/1 he is worth a small bet each-way.
Gutter gotta good chance in the Circus Maximus
The Newmarket yards have dodged the opening Group 3 for two-year-olds - the Circus Maximus Prix Francois Boutin. The two UK runners are Oneforthegutter trained by Ian Williams and Thewizardofeye which is with Stan Moore. Both ran over six furlongs at Newbury last time, Oneforthegutter facing the stiffer task and coming fourth in a Listed race. Thewizardofeye won a novices' contest by three lengths under John Egan, who has flown over for the one ride.
Three French runners are evenly matched on their runs behind Kevin Ryan's dual Group winner Atomic Force - Black Lives Matter, Best Sixteen and Who Knows.
Elysted has won a couple of minor races at Nantes and Mont-De-Marsan, the latter by a nose. You can do no more than win but she needs to step up appreciably to remain unbeaten, or indeed to be placed.
Montussan's debut success in a Saint-Cloud maiden has worked out quite well with the third, fourth, sixth and seventh all winning. He has not done so well himself, though, lacking the acceleration to figure in two Listed races and finishing alongside Curaro Light at La Teste de Buche in the second of them.
The favourite, Never Dies, gained the smoothest of wins when 10/11 for a Compiegne maiden. He is not particularly highly regarded in Andre Fabre's yard but could well make the improvement needed to win this.
Monty may keep Dettori out of winner's enclosure
All seven runners in the Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club at 13:33 are in form. This Group 3 over 10 furlongs has been won by some big names in the past such as Cirrus Des Aigles and Skalleti but nothing stands out in this weekend's renewal.
There are no British runners but Frankie Dettori is on the German filly No Limit Credit which has finished in the first three in her last six races.
She has a chance of winning but on a line through Skalleti, she might not be able to beat Monty, who is less consistent but at the top of his game.
Back Shafaaf to remain unbeaten
James Doyle Latest Generation, Hollie Doyle Laos, Frankie Dettori Alastar and William Buick Santorini are all in action in the Prix Nureyev at 15:25.
They are up against four French three-year-olds with familiar colours - Godolphin's Mond Shadwell's Shafaaf Coolmore's Friendly Face and George Strawbridge's In Crowd.
Shafaaf has beaten modest horses stylishly over a mile at Clairefontaine and Compiegne and should be better still at 10 furlongs as her pedigree goes back to classy Height Of Fashion and Nashwan.
Gregolimo is worth a look as he has been placed in two Group races at Longchamp since winning at Toulouse. Those runs put him in with a big chance in Listed company.
Tasty Burgarita very much on the up
The Prix Minerve at 16:00 is a Group 3 for three-year-old fillies over 12 furlongs. Last year it was won by David Menuisier's classy Wonderful Tonight, which has gone on to win two Gr1s and two Gr2s.
Is there anything with her potential in the latest line-up? There may well be.
Burgarita, who didn't race at two, was third in the French Oaks. The Dettori-Gosden runner Free Wind finished ahead of yesterday's Newmarket winner Eileendover when second in a Listed at Newbury last month. Jessica Harrington's
James Doyle will fancy his chances on Charlie Appleby's Sayyida as she improved 7lb on her previous form when second at Newmarket last time.
Top weight Thunder Drum's 4lb penalty for beating Ricla a length in the
Group 3 Prix de Royaumont means the runner-up must have a good chance of turning the tables on Lady Bamford's winner. Adhafera has come on by leaps and bounds since finishing eight lengths behind Burgarita in a Listed race at Longchamp in May.
It is a cracking contest and I'm with Burgarita to win this on her way to victories in better company.
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