France was unable to hold off the foreign challenge as Britain and Ireland scooped up a 1-2-3 in the Prix Maurice de Gheest.
Earthlight left singing the blues
Godolphin came into this Group 1 sprint with a very strong hand and perhaps the only surprise is that they didn’t win the contest with Earthlight. Unbeaten in six career starts to date, France’s young star was unable to maintain his unblemished record.
Travelling up well, Earthlight looked to be coming with a winning challenge. He was unable to maintain his momentum, however, and never got past long-time pacesetter Hello Youmzain. Although disappointing on paper, he’s gone close with some of Britain’s best sprinters and connections can still be encouraged.
Space Blues out of this world
It was a superb performance by Charlie Appleby’s versatile colt, who has now rattled off a hat-trick. His prior successes came over seven furlongs and this is his first victory at the top level. A Group 2 scorer at Glorious Goodwood in impressive style, he wasn’t winning out of turn at the top level.
Held up towards the back of the field, he looked in trouble as the pace increased. That sentiment didn’t last long, however, as he surged between Earthlight and Hello Youmzain. His extra stamina came in handy in the final furlong, not hard-pressed by rider William Buick who only needed to push out his mount towards the finish.
Now proven over six furlongs at the top level, it opens up a huge amount of options for him later in the season. There is just the one Group 1 contest over seven furlongs and now that a strongly-run six furlongs clearly suits him down to the ground, he’s a real danger for a plethora of top-class contests.
Britain and Ireland dominate
It was a 1-2-3 for the British and Irish raiders, with Diamond Jubilee winner Hello Youmzain bouncing back. He was disappointing in the July Cup on his penultimate start but was game as they come on French soil. Kevin Ryan’s charge was battling back in the closing stages and we perhaps we haven’t seen the best of him.
Lope Y Fernandez is yet to make it at Group 1 level but continues to prove consistent behind more classy individuals. He added to his 2000 Guineas third and Prix Jean Prat second, finishing just a head behind Hello Youmzain.