All Eyes on Headman at Deauville


Headman | Scoop Dyga

There is abundant quality on offer across France, Ireland and Britain on Thursday, but the major player is 'TDN Rising Star' Headman (GB) (Kingman {GB}) in Deauville's G2 Prix Guillaume D'Ornano Haras du Logis Saint-Germain. Impressive when dealing with the subsequent G1 Grand Prix de Paris winner Jalmoud (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) and the re-opposing Flop Shot (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) in the G2 Prix Eugene Adam over this 10-furlong trip at Saint-Cloud June 30, Khalid Abdullah's homebred escapes a penalty in this long-range Arc pointer and jockey Jason Watson is relishing resuming the partnership. “We've been happy with how he came out of his last race in France. He did win quite nicely and encouragingly, so we'll try our luck out there again,” he said. “He's already beaten Flop Shot, who is running, so I hope he's going out there with a good chance.”

During another Deauville festival where the majority of the black-type races have been heading overseas, Flaxman Stables Ireland's Up Helly Aa (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) adds weight to the challenge to the French-trained contingent. Second in the

G3 Meld S. at Leopardstown July 18, the son of the former Willie McCreery stable star Fiesolana (Ire) (Aussie Rules) is open to further progression. “He seems in good form. He'll have to improve again to win it, but we hope he's on an upward curve,” McCreery said. “He's improving physically the whole time, so I hope he will do so on the track.”

Elsewhere on the card, the G3 Arqana Prix de Lieurey sees another British raider with strong claims in the Meon Valley homebred Twist 'N' Shake (GB) (Kingman {GB}). Fourth in the G1 Coronation S. at Royal Ascot June 21, the John Gosden trainee registered a 3 1/2-length defeat of the re-opposing Fount (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the Listed Prix de Bagatelle over this track and mile trip July 21. She is met by Teruya Yoshida's Commes (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}), who was runner-up in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at ParisLongchamp May 12 and G1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly June 16. Reverting to the distance of the former Classic, she lost out by inches in both contests and needs a win like this on her resume.

Commes's trainer Jean-Claude Rouget pitches last year's G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains hero Olmedo (Fr) (Declaration of War) into the G3 Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club on the back of a disappointing effort when 15th in the G1 Queen Anne S. at Royal Ascot June 18. At Salisbury, last year's Queen Anne winner Accidental Agent (GB) (Delegator {GB}) lines up search of a confidence boost in the G3 Tattersalls Sovereign S. after finishing last of eight in first-time cheekpieces in the G1 Sussex S. at Goodwood July 31. Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton is happy that the 5-year-old is in a good place and said, “We know he is better on a straight track–a look at his form tells you that–and he's not bothered by a bit of cut, so we're not concerned on that score. He just got caught on heels at Goodwood last time and just threw his head up a bit. He finished really well though and was only beaten five lengths, so it wasn't too bad at all.”

Of the 3-year-olds in the Sovereign, Susan Roy's G3 Hampton Court S. third King Ottokar (Fr) (Motivator {GB}) drops back to a mile having faded late when third in that June 20 10-furlong contest. “He had a lovely run at Royal Ascot. We felt that day, potentially, he didn't quite get home,” trainer Charlie Fellowes commented. “He was drawn wide and had to challenge wide, so he did well to finish third. We are dropping back to a mile off the back of that run which I hope will be okay. Ideally we want plenty of rain, because it needs to be a bit of a stamina test.”

At Leopardstown, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum's G1 Epsom Derby runner-up Madhmoon (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) takes aim at the G3 Invesco Pension Consultants Desmond S. and trainer Kevin Prendergast is understandably bullish. “He couldn't be better, he's in great shape,” he said. “He's in the [Irish] Champion S.–he has to have a run somewhere and this is a good place to run him. He's won there twice and been second the other time. He likes the track and conditions suit him, so he should be there or thereabouts.”

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