French prize no soft option

Richard Edmondson previews the Prix Jacques le Marois

A queue of lurking figures wearing black and white hooped shirts leads to the swankier residences of Paris at this time of year. The capital's desertion in high summer is a predictable occurence and the moveable feast ends for many, and just about all racing aficionados, in the Normandy spa of Deauville.

Since its creation in 1864 by the Duc de Morny, Deauville's month-long race meeting has gained in prestige, and it is now the place to liberate the glad rags and give the poodle a good shampoo and blow dry.

There is something quintessentially French and smooth about the place. Tractors level the strand each daybreak as the horses come out to exercise, the huge, spangled casino waits to gooble up any funds that might survive the racecourse, and Omar Sharif is always around to share a hand of bridge or an aperitif at Le Drakkar.

It could be, though, that the natives would trade all this rich ambience for a packet of soggy fish and chips and a plastic policeman's helmet rather than surrender their racing jewel, the Prix Jacques Le Marois, to the marauders from Britain.

The visitors tend to prefer this arena to a drizzly night on the all- weather and many probably spend the first days of spring singling out a horse for Deauville. Our boys are always easy to spot in Normandy by their trousers. They verge between Paul Cole (too short) and Clive Brittain (too flared).

Clive is lucky to still be around as he produced the greatest insult a Frenchman can receive - the sort of action that gets you run out of town by a gang carrying torches - when he had the nerve to win the Group One race with Sayyedati three years ago.

The mare was perilously close in the subsequent two runnings, finishing runner-up on each occasion, but Clive has had enough of getting his pants singed and declines to have a representative in this afternoon's running.

Britain's hopes in the mile race lie with Charnwood Forest (if you are happy to accept that a Dubian owner and trainer, plus an Italian jockey makes him British) and Gothenberg, who does not sound particularly Anglo- Saxon either.

Lanfranco Dettori, who got his domestic score rolling again after injury at Salisbury yesterday, partners Charnwood Forest for the first time and seems to have a tough job ahead of him.

The ground is described as being on the soft side and if it got any worse the Godolphin runner might just travel for the duty-frees. Gothenberg, on the other hand, is happiest when wading. However, the colt who will be managed by Mark Johnston and Jason Weaver may be found wanting for quality.

The favourites to keep the prize at home are Sensation, Spinning World and Shaanxi. The first-named will be ridden by Michael Kinane, who could probably get himself on the favourite in the Pamplona bull run, while Spinning World will be joined by Cash Asmussen.

Victory for Spinning World would probably be the most satisfying for the romanticists as he is sent forth by the Niarchos Family. The Family is now without its godfather, as Stavros Niarchos, the Greek shipping magnate who won three of the previous five runnings, is no longer with us.

Shaanxi is owned by Teruya Yoshida, who rather likes to hear post-race debriefings in his mother Japanese tongue. Yoshida is well-known as an employer of Yutaka Take, whose effigy is still punctured at Peter Chapple- Hyam's yard, but here he relies on a different countryman, Masayoshi Ebina.

Ebina is closing in on 500 winners and bows to only two other riders in eastern Japan. The 27-year-old has again collected a number of big races this year, without resorting to any sort of roughness. He is a dual winner of the Fair Play Trophy for the jockey who incurs least penalties during the season. Fair play, for the French this afternoon, will be leaving the Prix Jacques le Marois behind in Deauville.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Learning Support Assistant

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a Learning Support A...

Primary Teacher

£90 - £145 per day + travel expenses: Randstad Education Newcastle: Primary Su...

Service Delivery Manager - Software Company

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager Kingston Up...

Year 3 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 Primary Teacher in HullA f...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments