Moonlight Cloud puts rivals in shade with dazzling win

Lethal Force no match as mare breaks course record to win Deauville prize for the third time

Racing Correspondent

While connections of Sky Lantern reflected on another exasperating  reverse for the leading British filly of her generation, the French yesterday gave notice that an older mare continues to set the international standard.

Looking better than ever, Moonlight Cloud broke the track record as she saw off the British summer’s breakthrough sprinter, Lethal Force, with a coruscating exhibition at Deauville. It was the five-year-old’s third consecutive  success in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, and exalted her ever closer to the great Goldikova on the CV of their trainer, Freddy Head.

A disappointing performance at the Breeders’ Cup last autumn, in a race won three times by Goldikova, remains the only one Moonlight Cloud has produced over the past two seasons that did not confirm her elite calibre. Last summer she came within an ace of becoming the only horse ever to beat Black Caviar, and was hampered before finishing best in the Prix Jacques le Marois. That race remains on her agenda this time round, despite again being run as soon as this Sunday.

That will stretch her speed out to a mile, though she was always cruising yesterday over six and a half furlongs – even with the pace being set by the winner of two Group One sprints this summer. Lethal Force, having won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and July Cup, was attempting to become the first British sprinter since Dayjur, in 1990, to win three such races in a row. But Moonlight Cloud scythed him down entering the final furlong before clearing away by just under two lengths, with the admirable Gordon Lord Byron finishing strongly for a place. The other Irish raider, Gale Force Ten, once again failed to build on his success in the Jersey Stakes, only 11th of 14.

Lethal Force did seem to drift wearily when headed, and jockey Adam Kirby told his trainer that the horse felt a little flat – but Clive Cox rightly acknowledged that he requires no exoneration for losing out to such an accomplished rival.

Another British raid was foiled in Düsseldorf when Secret Gesture, having come through in the straight to go clear, was run down in the final stages of the German Oaks by one of the home fillies, Penelopa. It was not difficult to see why connections had been tempted to drop Secret Gesture to 10 furlongs, after she had likewise finished second in the Epsom original. Indeed, she had initially been declared to run in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday – a race that proved a rare  disappointment, on the final day of the meeting, for a trainer and jockey who respectively accumulated nine and eight wins during its course.

Richard Hughes found his path blocked at a critical stage before finishing fifth behind Winsili, so reprising his frustrations when the latter’s stablemate Elusive Kate had won a controversial duel at Newmarket last month. Richard Hannon is already proposing to train Sky Lantern for a rematch with Winsili in the Filly and Mare Turf at the Breeders’ Cup – where the Mile is also the ultimate target for his Sussex Stakes winner, Toronado.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath’s Nap

Pearl Ice (3.45 Ripon)

Lost his way after impressing over course and distance last year but signs of rejuvenation on latest start.

Next Best

Arctic Lynx (7.00 Windsor)

Unlucky last time and looks to be thriving now for a trainer who excels with sprinters.

One to watch

Coral Mist (Charles Hills) was taken off her feet in the early   stages at Goodwood but rattled home for third.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home