Certify can prove sweet curtain-raiser for super Sunday
On racecourses at least, tomorrow's sport is far more captivating than that on offer today, with top-level contests in France and Ireland. At Deauville, some of the best milers in Europe will be scrapping to settle who is best of the rest in the division behind Frankel. And at the Curragh, the stars of the future step out in two significant juvenile events, while one of the past makes an intriguing return to action.
The Prix Jacques le Marois, the highlight of the Normandy seaside season, brings together nine Group One winners. They include, for France, Europe's top sprinter Moonlight Cloud, stepping up in distance a week after taking the Prix Maurice de Gheest; for Ireland, Excelebration, five times used as a punchbag by Frankel; and for Britain, the colt Most Improved and the fillies Fallen For You and Elusive Kate.
The latter two are John Gosden stablemates and the yard's rider William Buick hopes it will be third time lucky after making the wrong choice in two previous Group One races. He has opted this time for the Royal Ascot winner Fallen For You.
The Phoenix Stakes at the Co Kildare venue is the first juvenile Group One race of the season and, since Aidan O'Brien began focusing fully on the Flat, has been pretty much a Ballydoyle benefit. The stable has provided 11 winners of the race, including George Washington, and three runners-up, including Henrythenavigator and, last year, Power.
O'Brien fields three tomorrow, headed by Cristoforo Colombo, who renews rivalry with his last-time conqueror Probably, also in Coolmore ownership but from the David Wachman stable. Jim Bolger, whose unbeaten Dawn Approach was among the initial entries, relies instead on the maiden Wexford Opera.
O'Brien is also likely to supply the favourite for the Group Two fillies' contest, the Debutante Stakes, in the recent Galway winner Magical Dream. And on the undercard, Ballydoyle's champion sprinter of 2010, Starspangledbanner, has his first race for nearly two years. The six-year-old returns to the track after fertility issues at stud.
The Godolphin team have won the last three runnings of this afternoon's Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket and send out Certify (3.35), who beat the subsequent Goodwood winner Pearl Sea comfortably on her debut. Whatever happens today it is to be hoped that she progresses better than her predecessors Long Lashes, White Moonstone and Discourse.
Ascot stages the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, a novelty four-cornered jockeys' points contest fought over six handicaps of various distances, with a draw for mounts. The GB & Ireland trio of Kieren Fallon, Johnny Murtagh and James Doyle are favourites for the team prize, with Boom And Bust (12.55) and Prussian (2.40) likely to contribute.
Sue Montgomery's Nap
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