Head's super summer continues as Goldikova lands Moulin
REPORT: FRANCE, Sunday
Longchamp: Prix du Moulin (G1) colts andfillies 1m
HENRYTHENAVIGATOR tasted defeat for the first time this season on Sunday, when beaten into fifth in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp.
The 6-4 favourite looked uncomfortable early on, with Johnny Murtagh low in the saddle as the pair entered the straight last but one, leaving Goldikova to land trainer Freddie Head his sixth Group 1 of the summer.
Given a highly professional ride by Olivier Peslier, the 3-1 second favourite fought out the final furlong with the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Darjina, coming home half a length in front.
Despite struggling for room, the Richard Hannon-trained Paco Boy held on for third under Richard Hughes, with Sageburgback in fourth ahead ofthe dual Guineas winner.
Aidan O'Brien cited the ground as a reason for Henrythenavigator's below-par effort, saying: "It was touch and go whether we would let him take his chance on the soft ground.
"It was really a last-minute decision and a veryclose one as he loves fast ground. The top was coming off in today's race and it blunted his speed, which is his biggest asset.
"He could never engage top gear and couldn't get hold of the turf. We'll now have a look at the Queen Elizabeth at Ascot. His only three defeats have come on similar ground to this."
Continuing the fantastic run of Group 1 wins for Head, hiseighth in total in just over two years, Goldikova was taking her second Group 1 of the season - and beating colts for the first time.
Goldikova also paid a considerable compliment to Zarkava, who had beaten her in both the Pouled'Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane, and could now be aimed at the Breeders' Cup.
Goldikova was cut to 5-1 or 6-1 by Blue Square, Stan James, Ladbrokes and Sky Bet, while likewise Darjina was the subject of price cuts for the Mile.
Head said: "I think it would be safe to say now that I have the best female and male three-year-old milers in Europe as, apart from Goldikova, I also train Tamayuz, who goes for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes later this month.
"I'm very lucky to have so much talent in my stable this year. Goldikova will now go either for the Breeders' Cup Mile or the longer Filly & Mare race at Santa Anita. She very nearly stayed the trip of the Prix de Diane (1m21/2f)."
Darjina, taking the runner-up place for the fifth occasion this season, may now head to Ascot.
"There were no excuses and we were beaten by a better horse but maybe the ground wasn't quite in our favour," said de Royer-Dupre.
"We are now going to wait for good ground. She could go for Ascot for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes but on both our previous visits to Ascot the going has been against her."
Paco Boy proved up to Group 1 standard, finishing best of all, and assistant trainer Richard Hannon jnr said: "There is undoubtedly a Group 1 race in him. We might now go for either the Queen Elizabeth II or the Prix de la Foret and then maybe the Breeders' Cup Mile as the owners are keen on theidea. Paco Boy stays in training as a four-year-old."
Sageburg was not running over his best trip and he now goes for the longer Prix Dollar back at this track on October 4.
Natagora, running her third Group race in just five weeks, could head to the Prix Foret.
"We had a very good race and we were always just behind Darjina, but she couldn't produce her normal turn of foot," said rider Christophe Lemaire.
The Mark Johnston-trained Lovelace, who finished seventh, was running for the second time in five days and Jamie Spencer said: "It was horrible, sticky ground, and he was never going well."