Deauville stages this weekends action yet again and whilst the weather and almost continuous racing may be taking its toll on the ground, we can do nothing but heap praise on the course management team for keeping the show on the road and the top class action on the track.
Saturdays feature is the Group 2 Prix De La Nonette over 10 furlongs. Jean-Claude Rouget has won this race 3 times in the last 10 years (Lily of the Valley 2010, Avenir Certain 2014 and La Cressoniere 2016) and this year could well bring another win. Tawkeel is likely to be a very warm order here and in truth is very hard to oppose. Having won her comeback at Deauville by a neck from Wangari, who won a Listed race next time out, she then stepped up to take the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary with ease at Chantilly. That was a superbly impressive performance as she pulled well clear of a quality field, the 4th Vaucelles has since won a Group 2 at Paris Longchamp and Tawkeel is by far the most progressive type in this line up.
Given that the same connections are also responsible for the exciting filly Raabihah, the pair have been campaigned to keep them apart. This policy has already yielded 3 group wins and on Saturday I expect them to add a 4th.
Solsticia reopposes for Andre Fabre, having been 3rd in the prix Saint-Alary. While she is ever consistent, it is very hard to make a case for her reversing the form with Tawkeel. A similar story applies to the other Andre Fabre entry, Alkandora. She has won a decent listed race at Paris Longchamp, but was a well beaten 3rd behind Raabihah last time and is probably running for the places.
Auyantepui has the noticeable services of Frankie Dettori. This daughter of Night of Thunder has won at Listed and Group 2 level in her native Italy. She is unexposed, but the form in those Italian races is probably some way below the principles here. Scripturale, ridden by Tony Piccone has been highly tried at this level. She dropped in class to win a Class 2 event at Clairefontaine earlier this month. Whilst that was a good performance, I suspect that she will be found wanting at this level once again.
Mark Johnston sends over Frankel’s Storm, who was last seen winning a handicap at Pontefract last week. Whilst she is a solid type, it is very hard to see her taking this prize back to the UK and is another looking for a place and some black type.
Tickle Me Green
Arguably the biggest danger to Tawkeel could be Tickle Me Green. When trained by Andre Fabre, she was placed in a Group 3 at Paris Longchamp before finding the French Guineas too hot. That race has not really worked out and so it is easy to put a line through that form. She has switched to Francis-Henri Graffard and duly delivered a Listed prize on her last start. That form has received a significant boost, with the 4th Alpinista having won a Listed race at Salisbury and then finishing a valiant 2nd to Love in the Yorkshire Oaks. Tickle Me Green clearly has a lot of talent and while she may not be able to live with the quality of Tawkeel, she should at least give her something to think about.