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
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence