You're 'Verry' Welcome

Verry Elleegant | Bronwen Healy photo


Following the frantic Saturday, a sense of serenity returns to the European racing scene on Sunday with Deauville hosting the leading action including the G1 Darley Prix Morny and G1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet. In the latter contest, France says bienvenue to the Australian wonder Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) who makes her eagerly anticipated Northern Hemisphere debut under Frankie Dettori for the Francis-Henri Graffard stable. Her astounding 11 Group 1 wins in her former country make her a figure of worldwide renown, but a 12th in Europe would truly set the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup heroine apart.

Last in the winner's enclosure at Randwick six months ago after the Chipping Norton S., Jomara Bloodstock's 7-year-old has several formlines to suggest she can deal with this transition. There is a strong contender lying in wait in Robert Moran's June 8 G3 Munster Oaks and July 7 G3 Stanerra S. winner Rosscarbery (Ger) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), so this will be no soft landing.

“It will be a new experience for her on the other side of the world,” Dettori told “She's had a bit of a break, so we'd expect her to come on for the race. When you look back at the Caulfield Cup, she beat the Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, so if you can match that form that's pretty decent. I managed to speak to Mark Zahra and I will talk to James [McDonald], but the most important thing is just to keep her quiet the first part of the race and make the finish. It is her comeback race and obviously her long-range target is the Arc, so it's the first step forward to get to that.”




Ballydoyle Hold The Key To The Morny

Aidan O'Brien ruled the roost at The Curragh on Saturday and even managed to snag a black-type contest here on the same afternoon, but they are all probably the appetiser for the G1 Darley Prix Morny which Rosegreen dominate with the July 17 G2 Prix Robert Papin first and second Blackbeard (Ire) (No Nay Never) and The Antarctic (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}).

Blackbeard was the operation's first black-type winner among the juvenile crop in 2022 and since his battling display in the Listed First Flier S. at The Curragh May 2, the stable have garnered another 13, including 11 at group level. Blackbeard has aided the cause with further wins in the May 21 G3 Marble Hill S. also at The Curragh and Chantilly's Robert Papin, while The Antarctic came here to take the G2 Prix de Cabourg which serves as this race's main course-and-distance trial Aug. 2. The latter, a full-brother to Battaash (Ire), has three lengths to make up on his warrior stablemate, but the master of Ballydoyle suggested this is no foregone conclusion.

“We always thought The Antarctic was a very good horse, which is why we supplemented him. He's just taking a little bit of time to come, but he's getting better,” he said.

Deja Vu?

Twelve months ago, Richard Fahey brought a G2 Norfolk S. winner here, booked Christophe Soumillon and the rest was history. This year, Steve Bradley's surprise winner The Ridler (GB) (Brazen Beau {Aus}) gets the treatment and if history can repeat itself, then the follow-up act to Perfect Power (Ire) (Ardad {Ire}) will be able to put a controversial win in that June 16 Royal Ascot contest behind him.

“He ran through the line at Ascot over a very stiff five and I just think the further he goes, the better he'll go,” Fahey said.

In a renewal lacking a single French runner, the July 7 G2 July S. winner Persian Force (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) adds intrigue but the shadow of Little Big Bear (Ire) (No Nay Never) hangs over all after he put seven lengths between them in the Phoenix.

“I was amazed with that race in Ireland–I was staggered that something could beat him that far,” trainer Richard Hannon said. “He's a very good horse and hopefully he's able to show it on Sunday.”

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