Racing: Moonlight's test

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The Independent Online
THEY say in Chantilly that she is another Allez France, and if she is, then look out Erhaab. As the search for a three-year-old superstar continues today in the Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby), Moonlight Dance puts her reputation on the line. It will be in at the deep end for the twice-raced filly this afternoon, but Andre Fabre, her trainer, and Daniel Wildenstein, her owner-breeder, are undaunted.

Moonlight Dance has the pedigree, if not the experience, for today's task. She is a daughter of Alydar, the Kentucky Derby winner, and undefeated French star Madelia, who broke a bone in her foot when beating Trillion in the French Oaks, her third Group 1 win in four starts.

Nobody knows how good Madelia was, for that was her last race, and now, 17 years on, her daughter carries her standard. And Moonlight Dance has done nothing wrong so far. She won a race for debutantes in April and two weeks ago beat a strong field of her own sex in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary.

History is against her today, for no filly has won the Jockey- Club since Saltarelle 120 years ago. Wildenstein said: 'Moonlight Dance may be as good as her dam, and we will give her the chance to prove it.'

The Jockey-Club field was considerably strengthened three days ago when three British-trained colts, Cicerao (Henry Cecil), Alriffa (Richard Hannon) and Hawker's News (Michael Stoute), were supplemented to the race at the same time as Moonlight Dance. They join two other horses, Strategic Choice (Paul Cole) and Shanghai Venture (Sean Woods), on the trip across the Channel.

The bookmakers are taking no chances with Fabre's filly. William Hill have Moonlight Dance their 4-1 joint-favourite with Alriffa and Cicerao.