Starman Heads Maurice de Gheest Cast

Campanelle | Scoop Dyga

Deauville stages the G1 LARC Prix Maurice de Gheest on Sunday, where David Ward's G1 July Cup hero Starman (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}) has to tackle testing ground as he bids to put his marker down on the sprinting division. Beaten only once when encountering soft going in Ascot's G1 Qipco British Champions Sprint S., the 4-year-old nevertheless carries significant stable confidence into the 6 1/2-furlong highlight.

“He's in cracking form and we're super excited, so fingers crossed,” trainer Ed Walker said. “Everything has gone very well since the July Cup. On his last piece of work, I think he's improving, dare I say it.”

Wesley Ward is already off the mark at the meeting with Twilight Gleaming (Ire) (National Defense {GB}) and it is another Stonestreet Stables representative who offers stern opposition to the British talisman in Campanelle (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), who was awarded the G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last time June 18.

“She's there and in good shape and Frankie (Dettori) is riding, so there are no worries,” said Ward. “I think there are a lot of showers around and that is going to suit Campanelle just fine.”

Marc Chan's 'TDN Rising Star' Kinross (GB) (Kingman {GB}) stays further than this and showed last time when winning Goodwood's G2 Lennox July 27 that he handles the soft. That is not so much the case with Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez's fellow 'TDN Rising Star' Thunder Moon (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), who was runner-up to Laws of Indices (Ire) (Power {GB}) in the July 11 G1 Prix Jean Prat here.

“The better the ground, the better his chance,” trainer Joseph O'Brien commented. “We were thrilled to see Thunder Moon get back on track in the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville last time, as his first two runs of the season had been very disappointing. The drop in trip seemed to help him and he was only just touched off by Laws of Indices. This even shorter trip should be fine for him and the less testing ground will definitely be in his favour, as we considered taking him out of the Prix Jean Prat on account of the softening ground.”

There are only three home-trained runners and the pick seems to be Jean-Claude Seroul's winning machine Marianafoot (Fr) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}). Having won the seven-furlong G3 Prix du Palais-Royal and G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot at ParisLongchamp May 30 and July 1, the homebred switches to a straight track but trainer Jerome Reynier is happy it will not hinder his chances.

“He has won seven in a row and was tried over a straight course back in April at Chantilly and handled it well,” he explained. “Six and a half furlongs is a bit of a long trip for the sprinters, but he has won over seven and I think he's got a good chance. This is the logical next step and we're looking forward to it. It's a pretty good race and it will be good to try him against this sort of opposition. If we can step up onto the podium, we will be delighted.”

At The Curragh, the G1 the Keeneland Phoenix S. sees the June 26 G2 Railway S. first, second and fourth Go Bears Go (Ire) (Kodi Bear {Ire}), Castle Star (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) and Dr Zempf (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}) renew rivalry. The former, who was previously second in the G2 Norfolk S. at Royal Ascot June 17, has to do it on softer ground this time but trainer David Loughnane is not overly concerned.

“With the weather forecast, the ground is probably going to be a bit softer than we would like it to be but he has won on soft ground previously so provided he turns up and gets out of bed on the right side, I think he should take all the beating,” he said. “On paper, we certainly look the one to beat but there's every chance something else in the race could have taken a big step forward since the Railway. We're going there confident, but we're well aware Group 1s are not easily won.”

Fozzy Stack is happy to re-engage with Craig Bernick and Antony Beck's May 22 G3 Marble Hill S. winner Castle Star and is hoping the predicted change in conditions might level the playing ground. “He obviously handled slower ground and it might upset one or two of the others, so I wouldn't mind a drop of rain,” he said. Peter Brant's 'TDN Rising Star' Dr Zempf was the most in need of the experience in the Railway and should have improved for the run, while Aidan O'Brien who has won this a record 16 times has the filly Prettiest (Dubawi {Ire}) as his main challenger but she needs to fare better than when fourth in the G3 Silver Flash S. at Leopardstown July 22.

The third Group 1 of the day comes at Hoppegarten, with the Longines 131st Grosser Preis von Berlin attracting Kirsten Rausing's July 3 G2 Lancashire Oaks winner Alpinista (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and Godolphin's Mar. 6 G2 Dubai City of Gold scorer Walton Street (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}) as they encounter the July 4 G1 Deutsches Derby third Imi (Ger) (Tertullian). Back at Deauville, the G1 Grand Prix de Paris and G1 Hong Kong Vase winner Mogul (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) is the star act in the 12 1/2-furlong G3 OSAF Prix de Reux as he looks to get his 4-year-old campaign on track and extend Aidan O'Brien's stellar record in France in 2021.

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