The 1st weekend in August has certainly yielded some potential superstars on the French Racing scene. Deauville offered up 2 days of excellent racing, with the Fillies taking centre stage. Whilst most of the racing world was focused on Goodwood for the week, where Stradivarius continued his dominance and Battaash blew the record book to pieces, Deauville has perhaps taken a smaller role, though we may well have seen 2 horses who will soon be front of stage.
Having finished 4th in the Prix De Diane, beaten under a length, her form was already proving very solid, with the Winner that day, Fancy Blue having won the Nassau at Goodwood. Lining up in the Group 3 Prix De Psyche on Saturday, she was sent off a warm order at 4/9. Favourite backers never had a moment to worry as she travelled powerfully throughout and pulled clear on the run to the line to beat Wangari by over 3 lengths. Given that Wangari won at Listed level last time and holds form with another star filly, Tawkeel, it is safe to assume that this form is very solid, especially given the time she posted.
Jean-Claude Rouget has already stated how highly he rates the filly, with the Prix Vermeille and then a tilt at the Arc being the plan. Whilst she is not yet the finished article, having only made 4 starts we have not yet seen the full extent of her potential. As a 3-year-old Filly, she would receive plenty of allowances in the Arc and being a daughter of Sea the Stars, she will surely get the trip. Having already proved that she can handle the track at Paris Longchamp, with a comfortable win in the Listed Prix De La Seine in May, she will be a lively outsider at the very least in October.
Sundays highlight, the Group 1 Prix Rothschild revolved around Watch Me. Last year’s Coronation Stakes winner had returned at the track 3 weeks previously to take a Listed race over the Course and Distance. On Sunday, Pierre-Charles Boudot was able to settle her on the rail behind the front running Summer Romance. She travelled strongly throughout and although there was a brief moment at the 2-furlong pole when her backers may have been worried, as Johnny Murtaghs Know It All came through under Oisin Murphy, Watch Me stayed on best to get the job done.
Watch Me is a proved Group 1 performer, she does hold an entry in the Jacques Le Marois, but that may come too soon. The Prix de l’Opera is the main aim and if she is able to maintain this level of form, she would have a favourites chance.
Whilst Rabbihah and Watch Me took the limelight this weekend, there were a couple of others to take my eye for the future. The first is See the Rose, who won the Group 3 Prix Six Perfections for 2-year-olds on Saturday. Andre Fabre’s charge is now 3 from 3 and made light work of the Charlie Appleby trained Wedding Dance to win with something in hand. His Sire, Kendargent, has had a very good year with his Juveniles and given how well See the Rose saw out the 7-furlong trip, she will surely get further in time.
The last entry for the notebook is Kenway. Probably the unluckiest loser of the weekend, Kenway travelled extremely well in the Listed Tourgeville Stakes on Sunday, still on the bridle with 2-furlongs to go. However, being on the rail is always a risk at Deauville as you need luck in running for the gaps to appear. Held in behind Charlesquint, with the strong finishing Well of Wisdom and Celestin on his outside, the gap didn’t come and Pierre-Charles Boudot had to sit and suffer, with a late lunge for 2nd place the best he could achieve. Kenway has run some solid races this year and ought to find a group race at some point this season.