Racing: Rodrigo a 'certainty' for Deauville return

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IF STABLE confidence can make a horse run faster, Rodrigo De Triano will take at least a minute off the track record at Deauville on Sunday. The English and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, who will be racing for the first time since Royal Ascot, was yesterday declared to be 'an absolute certainty' for the Group One Prix Jacques le Marois by his trainer, Peter Chapple-Hyam.

His prediction may well prove correct, but at present there are 18 other entries in the race, one of the season's premier mile events, many of whom have a significant chance on the book. There are six other British-trained runners among yesterday's declarations, as well as Ireland's Brief Truce, the St James's Palace Stakes winner, and a strong team aiming to keep the prize at home.

Rain has eased the going at Deauville, and while Rodrigo De Triano will only miss the race if it gets very soft, the conditions seem sure to deter some of the challengers. John Dunlop's Lahib, winner of Royal Ascot's Queen Anne Stakes, is a definite contestant, as is Paul Cole's Dilum, but the prevailing conditions will not favour Mystiko, last year's 2,000 Guineas winner. Clive Brittain's challenge is instead expected to rest with Sikeston, a confirmed mudlark, while Second Set is another unlikely runner. The Celebration Mile at Goodwood and the Arlington Million are alternative targets for Luca Cumani's colt.

Francois Boutin has won the Jacques le Marois in four of the last five seasons and again holds a powerful hand. The improving Hydro Calido, runner-up to Culture Vulture in the French 1,000 Guineas and an impressive winner of a Group Two race earlier this month, is likely to be his strongest card, with Star Of Cozzene and Exit To Nowhere providing able backup. Kitwood, Lion Cavern and Steinbeck, all owned by Sheikh Mohammed, are the other leading lights among the home team.

There will be no immediate travels, however, for the Irish Derby and King George VI Stake winner, St Jovite. Jim Bolger, his trainer, has decided that a trip to York next Tuesday for the Group One International Stakes might hinder his preparation for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and he will now take in the Irish Champion Stakes on 13 September before heading for the Longchamp showpiece.

PRIX JACQUES LE MAROIS (Deauville, Sunday): Five-day acceptors: Lahib, Mystiko, Sikeston, Second Set, Misil, Sharp Review, Exit To Nowhere, Star Of Cozzene, Hazm, Kitwood, Lion Cavern, Steinbeck, Brief Truce, Dilum, Rodrigo De Triano, Take Risks, Cardoun, Hatoof, Hydro Calido.