Deauville could look like an episode of Benidorm on Sunday, albeit with champagne and frogs legs in place of lager and crisps. As Paul Hardcastle once sang, nnnnnnnnnineteen British or Irish runners are declared for Sunday’s card, with the nine-runner Prix Morny – one of two Group 1 races on the day – featuring no less than seven raiders from across Le Channel.
Connections of Simply Striking and Sexy Metro will need to get their towels down on the deckchairs early, but both horses have solid claims after chasing home Signora Cabello in the Prix Robert Papin last time. No relation to former footballer Jean-Pierre, the Robert Papin is a key race when it comes to working out Sunday’s contest.
It was Signora Cabello’s fourth win in a row after victories at Bath, York and Royal Ascot (Queen Mary Stakes).
Due to an offer from sponsors Darley, if she goes on to win Sunday’s race her breeders will receive a 2019 nomination to a Darley stallion up to the value of €20,000. Apparently it’s not ok for me to offer the same incentive to the missus, though she argues that’s because it works out at very poor value for her on a €/minute basis.
Signora Cabello is one of three British fillies taking on the colts, with Prix de Cabourg winner Comedy – also in line for the same bonus (from Darley, not me) – firmly in the mix. She completed her own hat-trick over C&D last time and is likely to progress further. She represents Karl Burke, who trained Unfortunately and Havana Grey to finish first and second in this race last year, the former having won the Robert Papin en-route.
Vintage Stakes one-two Land Force and Marie’s Diamond are respected, but will need to improve to peg back the third filly, Pretty Pollyanna, who heads Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings. She’s the top-rated two-year-old filly in the Europe on the back of winning the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket last time by seven lengths from Angel’s Hideaway and could have more to offer after just three starts.
From Pretty Pollyanna to Pretty Polly winners, and Urban Fox to be precise. She runs in the other Group 1 on Sunday, the Prix Jean Romanet, having beaten Oaks winner Forever Together by three and a quarter lengths at the Curragh in July. She couldn’t quite match that form when second to Wild Illusion in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood last time, but time may show – like when I play my niece at Scrabble – that it was a tough task against a smart three-year-old.
Rhododendron failed to blossom in the Nassau, but the Lockinge Stakes winner’s run was too bad to be true. She’s a very smart performer on her day and stays this trip well (won the Prix de l’Opera at Chantilly in 2017), so a better performance is expected in first-time blinkers.
The classy Bateel, who won the Prix de Pomone on this card last year, narrowly tops Timeform ratings and has been kept fresh for this, though it’s worth pointing out that was also the case when she was only fifth in last year’s renewal. Unlike me on the morning walk to work, she needs a strong pace to be seen to best effect.