Harrington hoping Alpine Star can upset Poetic Flare and Palace Pier in Marois
Jessica Harrington is hoping to crash the Palace Pier and Poetic Flare party when she takes on the best of the male milers with Alpine Star in a heavyweight clash of the generations in Sunday's Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.
The four-year-old filly enjoyed a superb campaign last year, winning the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot first time out before finishing a narrow second in three subsequent Group 1s in France, including the Jacques le Marois when she lost out to Palace Pier by less than a length.
After a 292-day absence, Alpine Star returned for 2021 with a surprise defeat when odds-on for the Listed Lyric Fillies' Stakes at York three weeks ago.
Harrington is happy to consign that run to the history books and is confident the drop back down to a mile will suit the Niarchos Family-owned filly, with Ladbrokes making her a 10-1 shot to upset the leading duo.
The trainer, who also saddled Alpha Centauri to victory in this race three years ago for the same connections, said: "It looks a very competitive race. I know she was beaten in York, but she was very fresh that day and when they're like that then that can happen. We're dropping back to a mile here and she should settle much better this time."
"I'm very happy with her and we're hoping for a big run. She was only beaten narrowly by Palace Pier last year so let's see what can happen. I hope she's on course to get her head in front again."
Star milers Palace Pier and Poetic Flare head the remaining entries with a field of 12 in contention as the pair stood their ground following the forfeit stage on Wednesday morning.
The two had been set to meet in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood until a blood disorder ruled out Palace Pier the week before the race in which Alcohol Free defeated Poetic Flare.
Jim Bolger is showing no signs of slowing down with his 2,000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes winner, though, and Sunday could mark his sixth consecutive Group 1 appearance in a little over three months.
Standing in his way of earning a fourth victory of the season is the dominant figure of Palace Pier, who is bidding for back-to-back victories in this race and has won all but one of his nine starts.
Victory on Sunday would mark a fifth at the highest level for Palace Pier and a third Marois in the last eight years for joint-trainer John Gosden, who was also successful with Kingman in 2014.
The four-year-old is fully recovered after his pre-Goodwood setback and has been connections, although Ladbrokes eased him slightly to an evens favourite (from 5-6) with Poetic Flare second favourite at 7-2.
Ladbrokes spokesperson Nicola McGeady said: "Palace Pier is the one punters want to be with this weekend, but we think there is reason to take him on. Obviously he missed the Sussex Stakes due to a setback, it's the first time he runs against this season's three-year-old crop, and Poetic Flare will be stiff opposition."
Seven horses were taken out at the forfeit stage. Prix Maurice de Gheest winner Marianafoot will not bid for an eighth straight victory, while Shadwell star Baaeed was also removed with the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp or Celebration Mile at Goodwood options for the unbeaten three-year-old.
However, the 1,000 Guineas winner Mother Earth could bid for a quickfire Deauville double after landing the Prix Rothschild last week, with Ballydoyle also confirming Order Of Australia among the 12.
Poetic Flare's stablemate Mac Swiney was also left in, while the Richard Hannon-trained Chindit completes the possible British and Irish challengers.
Legendary French trainer Andre Fabre is aiming for a record-breaking eighth victory in the Marois, and he is set to field Chantilly Group 3 winner Victor Ludorum and the lightly raced Midtown, both for Godolphin.
Prix Jacques le Marois betting
Ladbrokes: Evens Palace Pier, 7-2 Poetic Flare, 9 Mac Swiney, 10 Alpine Star, 11 Mother Earth, 14 Victor Ludorum, Midtown, 25 bar
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