2.55pm Prix Du Haras De Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois (Group 1 3yo+ Colts & Fillies) 1m (Straight)
How good are this year’s crop of three-year-old milers? And which are better, the colts or the fillies?
These two questions are set to be answered at Deauville tomorrow in a superb Group 1 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois and I expect the affirmative response to both to be provided by Inspiral, putting her name at the forefront of the classic generation.
John and Thady Gosden’s Frankel filly had looked to be an absolute superstar in the first five starts of her career, never winning in anything less than authoritative style, ending her juvenile campaign and beginning her three-year-old season with easy victories in top-class Group 1s, the Fillies’ Mile and the Coronation Stakes.
She then suffered a shock defeat at odds of 1/7 in the Falmouth Stakes at the hands of Prosperous Voyage, a filly she had beaten comfortably in three previous meetings, and her reputation lies in tatters.
John Gosden’s immediate explanation that her Falmouth reverse could be put down to the race having come too soon, just three weeks after her triumphant Royal Ascot comeback, seems perfectly fair and I expect her to have little trouble turning the tables with Prosperous Voyage, who reopposes as part of a nine-runner field.
The bookmakers believe that the 2000 Guineas hero, Coroebus, is the pick of the 2019 crop, making him their ante-post favourite. But this Charlie Appleby-trained colt has as many questions to answer as Inspiral and has achieved less than her on the racecourse.
Sure, Coroebus followed up that Guineas success with a Royal Ascot victory of his own, in the St James’s Palace Stakes. But the bare form of that race was nothing special (three-quarters of a length covered the first five home) and the Godolphin colt was lucky to get a gap up the inside rail while some behind him were markedly less fortunate.
Thankfully, the presence of the Japanese-trained front-runner Bathrat Leon means that a strong pace is virtually guaranteed, so chances are we will get a clean race with little opportunity for excuses afterwards.
Erevann and Light Infantry, the other two three-year-olds in the line-up, are worthy contenders. Unbeaten in three lifetime starts, Erevann is incredibly well-bred (by Dubawi out of the multiple Group 1 winner Ervedya), while Light Infantry flashed home to grab the runner-up spot in a Group 1 at this track last month.
But Erevann’s latest Group 3 victory over Tribalist looks less impressive now that the second has twice been well beaten since, while Light Infantry has ground to make up on Coroebus on the Guineas form.
We should find out the strength of this year’s three-year-olds given that they face two top Irish older horses in the shape of State Of Rest and Order Of Australia, respectively trained by Joseph O’Brien and his father, Aidan.
State Of Rest is battle-hardened in the extreme and will surely be ridden close to the pace given that he is dropping down in trip after his famous front-running Prince Of Wales’s Stakes success. A wonderfully consistent sort, he could be the one to give Inspiral most to think about.
Order Of Australia may be a Breeders’ Cup Mile winner but he has been beaten in all 10 of his other Group 1 starts, including when third in this race 12 months ago. His finishing position will reveal a great deal about the calibre of the winner.
Next Best: State Of Rest
In tomorrow’s Group 3s, Joseph O’Brien’s two-year-old, Montesilvano, will need to make another big leap forward if he is to get the better of the Appleby-trained Mysterious Night in the Circus Maximus Prix François Boutin; Jessica Harrington’s Fennela is surely better than her Irish Oaks showing indicated but may have to play second fiddle to Lastotchka in the Prix Minerve; and Francis Graffard’s Dilawar can land an overdue first win for almost a year in the Prix Gontaut-Biron.
Monday’s feature is the €400,000 Group 2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano for three-year-olds over 10 furlongs. This should provide rich pickings for the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Al Hakeem, who has not been seen since overcoming a poor draw to finish fourth in the Prix du Jockey Club
On the undercard, Harrington saddles Nectaris in the Group 3 Prix de Lieurey over a mile.