Racing: Moon outshines Europe's top milers: Deauville victory adds to the achievements of a filly whose reputation has not yet waxed full

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The Independent Online
SHE IS the best miler in Europe; quite possibly the best horse, period. Yet faced with the name East Of The Moon, many British backers and racegoers might struggle to get much further than her nationality (French) and trainer (Francois Boutin). And though she strolled away with yesterday's Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, East Of The Moon's profile may rise little higher before the Breeders' Cup in November.

British punters tend to feel that a horse cannot be called a champion until it has won on British soil, and until recently that arrogance was laced with more than a little truth. But whether you call it coincidence, or see it as evidence of this country's declining racing standards, it is possible that East Of The Moon's exemplary career will be played out elsewhere. If so, this daughter of Miesque, who threatens to surpass even her dam's many achievements, will never find a place in the hearts of Britain's racing public.

Ironically, Miesque's defeat in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot might be a factor when Boutin and Stavros Niarchos, East Of The Moon's owner, plan the filly's schedule. 'She won brilliantly,' Boutin said. 'She is not as robust as Miesque but she is still a joy to train. She might now try and avenge her mother's defeat in the Queen Elizabeth, although the Prix du Moulin (at Longchamp on 4 September) is an alternative. She will not run in both.' The ultimate target, though, is the race which Miesque won in 1987 and 1988, the Breeders' Cup Mile, and Boutin was quick to add, in a comment probably directed at Niarchos, that 'she'll be even better as a four-year-old'.

If so, a further season of competition for East Of The Moon is something worth praying for, if the breathless compliments of two of yesterday's jockeys are any guide. Two furlongs out, both Cash Asmussen, on the winner, and Walter Swinburn, riding Sayyedati, were going easily, but when Asmussen shook the reins on East Of The Moon, Swinburn's chance instantly went west. 'She's definitely the best filly I've ever ridden over a mile,' Asmussen said. 'Like Sayyedati, I was cantering two out, and when I came to challenge her I was still pulling double.' Swinburn was as surprised as he was disappointed. 'I thought it was all over when I pressed the button a furlong and a half out,' he said, 'and I was dumbfounded when the other filly ranged alongside me.'

The first two home were not seriously threatened, but for the record Mehthaaf finished third, while Sheikh Mohammed's four-strong challenge was a waste of money. Barathea, Emperor Jones, Fitzcarraldo and Matelot occupied the last four places.

Should Boutin choose to keep East Of The Moon at home, there is at least the prospect for British followers of a meeting with Turtle Island, the winner of the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Unsuitably fast ground and minor injuries have restricted Turtle Island to just one race since, but while an appearance in tomorrow's International Stakes is now unlikely due to a foot abscess, the Prix du Moulin is the probable alternative. 'I wouldn't rule it out completely, but I would say that Turtle Island is a very doubtful runner at York,' Ben Sangster, assistant to Peter Chapple-Hyam, said yesterday. 'When you are taking on horses of that calibre you want to be 110 per cent, not 90 per cent.'

Alriffa, who contested the BMW Europachampionat in Berlin yesterday, was scarcely even 10 per cent to judge by his forlorn run into fifth place behind the home-trained Flying Dream. Kevin Darley reported that his mount was struck into early in the race, but Sporting Index quickly removed Richard Hannon's colt from their St Leger betting. Bolas, the Irish Oaks winner, is their 3-1 favourite, with Broadway Flyer and Red Route close behind on 7-2. The latter, six-length winner of the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, will be a major name this autumn.

Prix Jacques Le Marois (Group One)

1. EAST OF THE MOON bay filly Private Account - Miesque C Asmussen

2. Sayyedati W R Swinburn

3. Mehthaaf W Carson

Also ran: Signe Divin (4th), Ski Paradise (5th), Barathea (6th), Emperor Jones (7th), Fitzcarraldo (8th), Matelot (9th).

9 ran. 1 1/2 , 2 1/2 . (Trained by F Boutin, at Chantilly, for S Niarchos). Pari-Mutuel: 1.90; 1.20, 1.80, 2.30. DF 8.70. NR: Lunafairy.

(Photograph omitted)

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