Prix Maurice de Gheest Tips & Betting Preview

Jockey turned trainer Freddie Head has won four of the last ten renewals of this classy race with Marchand D’Or in 2008 and then Moonlight Cloud in 2011, 2012, and 2013, but amazingly he hasn’t even got a runner this year, though Signs Of Blessing is back to defend his crown for Francois Rohaut and jockey Stephane Pasquier, though they may have their work cut out this season. Read on for our full race preview for the Prix Maurice de Gheest from Deauville on Sunday afternoon.

IN SUMMARY: It looks as though all the early money is for CARAVAGGIO which suggests he is back to something like his best, and if that is the case he really ought to get back to winning ways. He ran well in fourth last time at Newmarket but has plenty of form on going with a bit of give in it which he faces here, and as a son of Scat Daddy this extended six furlongs ought to be within his grasp. Ryan Moore is riding as well as ever and landed a treble at Goodwood on Friday plus another on Saturday, while Aidan O’Brien will have worked hard on the three-year-old to get him back to his peak. Brando was considered as an each-way alternative but the selection may yet prove to be out of the top drawer, and he will need to win this to cement his place in racing folklore.

1 BRANDO – One of seven overseas challengers for the £185,000 first prize and trained in Yorkshire by Kevin Ryan. Last time out he finished third to Harry Angel at Newmarket and a short head in front of Caravaggio who he meets on two pounds better terms today. If that form is taken literally then he has to have every chance this afternoon, and at a double figure price is well worthy of some each way consideration.  The yard are going well with a 15% strike rate recently, and in the circumstances, he does at least look overpriced.

2 ACLAIM – Martyn Meade’s Acclamation colt signed off last season with three wins in a row including the Group Two Dubai 200 Challenge Stakes at Newmarket last October over seven furlongs but is yet to bother the judge in two starts this year with a four length eighth to The Tin Man in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot when failing to get a clear run, and more recently a one and a half-length sixth to Breton Rock in the Group Two Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Tuesday. This may well come too soon for him regardless and even if it doesn’t, he still has a few pounds to find to bother some of these.

3 SIGNS OF BLESSING – Won this contest last year when beating Donjuan Triumphant by a length and a quarter and came back this season with a two-length win from Profitable here over five furlongs in May. One more start this year saw a solid five and three-quarter lengths eight to Lady Aurelia in the Group One Kings Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, again over the minimum trip when possibly rushed off his feet on fast ground over that trip. Back up to this six and a half furlongs today he may well try to make all the running as he did last season, and arrives here with a very decent chance even if his stable are a little on the quiet side.

4 BLACK MAX – Rank outsider for trainer Alex Pantall and looks up against it on all known form lines. The son of Fuisse did win his first two races of the season at Saint-Cloud and Compiegne but they were in lesser contests than this by some way, and he has since been beaten three times in Listed and Group Three company. This is a lot tougher than that with genuine Group One sprinters and although he will be running on later over this trip as he stays a mile, he ought to be too far behind by then for it to make any difference.

5 MAGICAL MEMORY – Charlie Hills has always thought a lot of the son of Zebedee who has now won eight of his twenty-two starts including the last two at Haydock in a Class Two Conditions Stakes and then at Newbury in the Group Three Hackwood Stakes which he took by a length and a quarter with plenty left in the tank if needed. He has won on soft ground so any further rain seems unlikely to be an issue, but he is yet to win at this level after five attempts and may be outgunned even if the stable are going well again with five winners from their last thirty-one runners (16%).

6 TUPI – Can be a bit of an in and out performer for Richard Hannon with a stone cold last of ten to Magical Memory at Newbury last time out, though he was heavily eased by Ryan Moore after failing to travel throughout the race. He did run well in defeat when a three and a half-length sixth to The Tin Man at Royal Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes despite being hampered but is yet to win at any level higher than Listed class and this looks to be likely to prove beyond him.

7 THE RIGHT MAN – Pulled off a 12/1 shock when winning the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in Dubai on World Cup night but failed to follow that up at Royal Ascot when a five and a half-length eleventh of nineteen to The Tin Man in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes when hampered at a vital time. Rested since, he could be seen as a pretty lively outsider here and would not be too far away if repeating his Dubai form stepped up to this trip for a stable without a winner from just the three runners in the last two weeks.

8 ZALAMEA – Looks totally outclassed for trainer Carian Fey after finishing last of seven to Mutakayyef at Ascot in the Group Two Summer Mile last time out at the end of July, beaten fifteen lengths at the line and weakening close home. The son of Lope De Vega has won over seven and a half furlongs here at Deauville as well as at Saint-Cloud over a mile and at Marseille Pont-de-Vivaux (twice), over seven and a half furlongs on the all-weather, but should find this trip way too short for him and the opposition way too hot today.

9 ROSA IMPERIAL – An unbeaten daughter of Pivotal who has raced three times successfully in the Godolphin colours for trainer Andre Fabre with a Conditions race at Fontainebleau over six furlongs, a Listed race at Maisons-Lafitte over five furlongs, and the six-furlong Group Three Prix de Ris-Orangis last time out in late June by a length from Son Cesio. This is a lot deeper and a lot more competitive but it is hard to know just how good she could be, and with her trainer responsible for five winners from his last nineteen runners for a 26% strike rate she is sorely tempting as an each way alternative.

10 FAS – Unbeaten after two races this season for Madame Pia Brandt with victories at Chantilly in listed and then in the Group Three Prix Sigy in April. Not seen since and thus off the course for four months, he has a bit to find in this company and will need to be at his peak to have even the remotest chance which is not assured after such a long holiday. Maxime Guyon keeps the ride, and is riding as well as ever with seven winners from his last thirty-four mounts, but he will do well to steal a place here assuming everything else runs up to form, of course.

11 CARAVAGGIO – If the “real” Caravaggio shows up this afternoon it is all over bar the shouting. Unbeaten after his first six races which included the Group One Phoenix Stakes last year over six furlongs and the Commonwealth Cup at royal ascot over the same trip, he was sent off odds on at Newmarket in the July Cup but failed to quicken up when asked before finishing fourth to Harry Angel, and behind Brando who re-opposes on slightly better terms today. There is a school of thought that the going was a bit too quick for him that day but with a bit of cut this afternoon he may well get back to winning ways though his price is certainly on the skinny side for a horse with a bit to prove. Trainer Aidan O’Brien is still on fire with ten winners from forty-two runners in the last fourteen days (24%), and we all know just how good Ryan Moore can be in the saddle.

12 INTELLIGENCE CROSS – Presumably here to set the pace for stable companion Caravaggio and looks outclassed regardless. Seamie Heffernan rides the son of War Front who was last seen finishing one place behind Caravaggio at odds of 100/1 at Newmarket, staying on at one pace after taking them along early. On that run he isn’t as far out of it as his odds imply and could run a big race here for those who like an outsider with a remote chance of hitting the places.

13 BOUND FOR NOWHERE – An intriguing runner here with just the three starts and trained by the legendary Wesley Ward. After winning his maiden on his debut at Turfway Park by six lengths he was sent to Keeneland for an Allowance race when scoring over five and a half furlongs by an easy four and a half lengths before being sent to Royal Ascot where he finished four and a quarter lengths fourth to Caravaggio and five and three-quarter lengths ahead of Intelligence Cross. He stayed on late that day after being blocked when looking for a run and connections seem keen to look for their revenge, making him yet another intriguing runner in one of the races of the season.

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