Watch Me faces strong English and Irish challenge in Prix Rothschild
Prix Rothschild (Group 1) | 1m | 3yo+ | fillies & mares | SSR
On the evidence of her sumptuous success in last year's Coronation Stakes – a first Group 1 win at Royal Ascot for trainer Francis Graffard and jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot – as well as her easy comeback success here three weeks ago, Watch Me sets a formidable standard in this year's edition of the Prix Rothschild.
Her ability to accelerate off a fast pace makes the daughter of Olympic Glory a tough opponent over a mile, while she proved that an extra two furlongs holds no fears when she finished a luckless third in the Prix de l'Opera last October.
As for her return to action over this course and distance, Watch Me banished the memory of a disappointing run in last season's Jacques le Marois when dismissing inferior rivals with her trademark kick.
"She has certainly come forward for her comeback run and is in super form, so all the lights are green," said Graffard. "Physically she did very well from three to four and she is a beautiful filly."
Fancy Blue struck a blow for the Classic generation of fillies in the Nassau Stakes on Thursday and Watch Me will probably have to be at her best to successfully concede 8lb to a trio of three-year-olds here.
Qatar Racing's Know It All was not too far behind the best Irish two-year-olds last autumn but has really blossomed in two runs this season, putting her Group 3 rivals away in a matter of strides on her first start over a mile at Leopardstown last time.
"She's a big filly so we were always hoping that she would be better at three," said trainer Johnny Murtagh of Know It All, a rare runner to date in Europe for Almond Eye's sire, Lord Kanaloa. "She had a good winter and ran well early on in the trial when she was a bit unlucky in a slowly-run race.
"After that day she really improved and I was absolutely delighted with the way everything went last time in the Group 3. She won really well and I wondered about running her in the Minstrel Stakes a couple of weeks, but Sheikh Fahad picked out the Prix Rothschild, pointing out it would be fillies-only and there would be no Romanised.
"I'm delighted we have her in it now. There's only six runners but it’s a high-class field and it looks like a nice race for her so we’re looking forward to it."
Summer Romance struck for the first time since a Listed win at Newmarket in June 2019 when landing the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom on Derby day, and bids to add to Charlie Appleby's phenomenal record at Deauville.
Appleby departed Normandy with three winners on his most recent visit last month and boasts an 28 per cent strike-rate in Listed and Group races at the track since the beginning of 2017, with only 13 of 39 runners failing to make the frame.
"We were very pleased with the performance of Summer Romance at Epsom and she came out of the race well," said Appleby. "She made the running there but doesn’t have to go from the front.
"It wasn’t the plan to make it last time out but nobody else wanted to go on, so we took the bull by the horns. We feel that this is a good opportunity to hopefully step up to Group 1 level."
The third member of the three-year-old brigade is Speak Of The Devil, who has solid course-and-distance form in the shape of her narrow defeat in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches.
Fabrice Chappet's representative travelled strongly when upped in trip for the Prix de Diane Longines before emptying out in the last furlong. She is reunited with Cristian Demuro, whose patient style appears to suit her well.
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