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Top News in Monday's TDN
Invincible Spirit's Moonlight Cloud Wins a Third Maurice de Gheest
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15.08 at DVLLARC Prix Maurice de Gheest  [6 1/2f (T)]Winner: Moonlight Cloud (GB), m, 5 by Invincible Spirit (Ire)
CLOUD BURST
So impressive when winning Deauville’s G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest for the past two years, George Strawbridge’s diminutive star Moonlight Cloud (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) was every bit as good in yesterday’s edition as she dispatched the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. and G1 July Cup hero Lethal Force (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) with the minimum of fuss. Warming up for her treble bid with a scintillating performance in the G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot over seven furlongs at Longchamp July 6, the homebred bay was never more than three lengths off the pace set by her British rival. Given the go-ahead by Thierry Jarnet approaching the furlong pole, the 6-5 pick did what no other had managed in the major sprints so far this term by stripping him of the lead soon after, and she scampered clear under hand riding to score by 1 3/4 lengths. "What can be said that has not already been said--she is really fantastic and all class and I think she’s even stronger and better than last season," commented trainer Freddy Head, who was registering a remarkable sixth success with just two horses since 2006, having stage-managed the three successes of his previous stable luminary Marchand d’Or (Fr) (Marchand de Sable). "She really knows how to run now and if she comes out of this race and is well during the week, the plan is to come back next Sunday for the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois, which has always been the target."

Sunday, Deauville, France
LARC PRIX MAURICE DE GHEEST-G1
, €350,000, Deauville, 8-4, 3yo/up, 6 1/2fT, 1:14.33, gd/sf.
1--MOONLIGHT CLOUD (GB), 125, m, 5, by Invincible Spirit (Ire)
     1st Dam: Ventura (Ire) (SP-Ire), by Spectrum (Ire)
     2nd Dam: Wedding Bouquet (Ire), by Kings Lake
     3rd Dam: Doff the Derby, by Master Derby
O/B-George Strawbridge; T-Freddy Head; J-Thierry Jarnet; €199,990. Lifetime Record: Hwt. 3yo, Older Horse & Older Mare-Fr at 5-7f, Hwt. Older Mare-Fr at 7-9f, Hwt. Sprinter-Eur & G1SP-Eng, 17-10-2-0, €1,138,583. *1/2 to Cedar Mountain (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), SW & GSP, $137,284. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2--Lethal Force (Ire), 128, c, 4, Dark Angel (Ire)--Land Army (Ire), by Desert Style (Ire). (€9,500 wnlg ‘09 GOFNOV; €8,500 yrl ‘10 TATIRE). O-Alan G Craddock; B-Declan Johnson; T-Clive Cox; €80,010.
3--Gordon Lord Byron (Ire), 128, g, 5, Byron (GB)--Boa Estrela (Ire), by Intikhab. (€2,000 wnlg ‘08 GOFNOV; €5,000 yrl ‘09 GOFOCT). O-Dr Cyrus Poonawalla & Morgan J Cahalan; B-Roland H Alder; T-Tom Hogan; €40,005.
Margins: 1 3/4, 3/4, 1 1/4. Odds: 1.20, 3.20, 10.00.
Also Ran: Tulips (Ire), American Devil (Fr), Silas Marner (Fr), Abu Sidra (Fr), Catcall (Fr), Don Bosco (Fr), Us Law (Ire), Gale Force Ten (GB), Indian Sly (Fr), Nova Neyev (Fr), Princedargent (Fr).
Click for the
Racing Post result or the free brisnet.com catalogue-style pedigree. Click for Equidia VIDEO.
   Labeled a "TDN Rising Star" at two, Moonlight Cloud was sent to the G1 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket the following May in the hope that her raw speed would last the mile, but duly ran out of steam late on to be seventh in that Classic. Returning to her native country to annexe the G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot over seven furlongs at Longchamp before her first emphatic score in this prize, she was the subject of a troubled passage when fifth in the six-furlong G2 British Champions Sprint S. on her final sophomore start at Ascot in October. Back with a win in Longchamp’s G3 Prix du Palais-Royal over a panel further last June, she almost managed the unthinkable later that month when finding Ascot’s winning post coming just a handful of yards too soon to end the dynamic sequence of Black Caviar (Aus) (Bel Esprit {Aus}) in the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. Stamping her authority on this contest next time, she was sent back over a mile a week later and was far from disgraced when fourth at her second attempt at the trip in the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois at this meeting. Proving that she does get that far when taking the G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp the following month, she never featured in the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita, but showed on her comeback in the Porte Maillot that she retained all of her considerable ability. Kept wide throughout as she had been on her two prior runs through this contest, she was kept close enough to Lethal Force to avoid giving that rival the potent lead he had enjoyed in Britain, and was full of run when asked for her effort inside the final quarter mile. Quickly subduing the trail-blazer with a furlong to race, she was on auto-pilot from there as she surged to the line to record the clear-fastest time in the race’s history. "To win one Maurice de Gheest is fantastic, but to win three with the same filly is amazing," Thierry Jarnet said. "I’ve been very lucky to be on some really nice horses this season, and I’m 46 and enjoying it as much as ever. I had the perfect trip and she did it on her own. I’m happy she didn’t have a hard race with next week in mind." Lethal Force’s trainer Clive Cox told the Racing Post, "Adam [Kirby] felt he probably just peaked at Newmarket and just felt a bit flat in comparison. We were very happy with him to bring him here after Newmarket. All credit to the filly and I’m still very pleased with my horse."

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