Moonlight Cloud: won the Maurice de Gheest in record timePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Moonlight Cloud trumps Lethal Force at Deauville
Report: France, Sunday
Deauville, Larc Prix Maurice de Gheest (Group 1), 6½f, 3yo+
MOONLIGHT CLOUD completed a hat-trick of wins in the Prix Maurice de Gheest as she came out on top in her eagerly anticipated tussle with Lethal Force, setting a new course record in the process.
All looked good for the Lethal Force team as he bowled along in his now customary front-running position under Adam Kirby, however he proved to be no match for Moonlight Cloud after she eased down the outside of the pack under Thierry Jarnet to join him racing into the final furlong.
Crossing the line, Moonlight Cloud was a length and three-quarters clear of Lethal Force with a further three-quarters of a length back to Gordon Lord Byron, who was doing his best work late on but was unable to get to the front two.
Jarnet, who has now ridden Moonlight Cloud in each of her last 11 starts, said: "She might be better than ever because she was always going so well in behind very good horses and she's beaten the track record."
This was a fourth Group 1 win in total for Moonlight Cloud and she looks set to bid for a fifth next week when she could take on the likes of Dawn Approach and Intello in the Prix Jacques le Marois.
"It put hers in a very good position for next weekend. I hope as in previous years it will be a good pace in the Marois because she's proved she's the best mare in Europe and she might be the best in the world."
Despite losing, Clive Cox was still happy with the performance of July Cup winner Lethal Force who was attempting to give 3lb to the winner.
"Adam felt he probably just peaked at Newmarket and just felt a bit flat in comparison," he said. "We were very happy with him to bring him here after Newmarket. All credit to the filly and I'm still very pleased with my horse."
Jersey Stakes winner Gale Force Ten travelled just behind Lethal Force through the early stages of the race, but his exertions took their toll and he managed to beat just three outsiders home.
Also on Sunday:
Deauville, Osaf Prix de Reux (Group 3), 1m 4½f, 3yo+
FIRST MOHICAN could manage only third position after making much of the running under Tom Queally.
The Lady Cecil-trained five-year-old led until deep in the final furlong of the Group 3 race but found Tres Blue and Montclair too good.