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Standout lessons to be learned from French racing's seaside show

Scott Burton looks back on another informative month

Deauville's month long summer meeting has provided plenty of clues for the rest of the Flat season in France and beyond
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As Deauville's summer party draws to a close, our French correspondent reflects on an action-packed month 

Peslier still a force to be reckoned with

Many may have assumed when he was replaced by Maxime Guyon as first jockey to Alain and Gerard Wertheimer that Olivier Peslier’s best days were behind him.

But, having already scooped a Classic on this track in May with Precieuse, the 45-year-old produced several displays here worthy of his French nickname, ‘Magic Peslier’.

Two wins aboard Tiberian – who should be taken very seriously during his Melbourne Cup quest this autumn – showed the jockey remains a supreme judge of pace, stringing along his rivals from the front in the Prix de Reux and then waiting in behind in the Grand Prix.

Olivier Peslier scooped three Group wins across the meeting and continues to operate at the height of his powers
Vue Fantastique in the Prix de Psyche was another well-judged ride, while Martyn Meade will have been delighted with Peslier’s patient steering of Aclaim to a Group 1 runner-up spot in the Maurice de Gheest.

Peslier even found time to slip across the Channel on a couple of occasions, producing the stewards’ dictionary definition of ‘obtaining the best possible placing’ in snatching second in the Yorkshire Oaks on Coronet.

Remember, Frankie Dettori is not the only jockey chasing the outright record of five wins in the Arc.

Fabre's milers beginning to bloom

Frankie Dettori (maroon cap, centre) and Al Wukair just hold off Inns Of Court (white cap) for n Andre Fabre 1-2 in the Prix Jacques le Marois
There may be widespread Gallic despondency about home claims for the Arc but the Classic generation of milers looks a very decent bunch, even if almost all the talent is housed in one yard.

The headline performance in Deauville was Al Wukair’s last-gasp success under Dettori in the Prix Jacques le Marois, while his narrowly vanquished stablemate Inns Of Court was a revelation.

Bear in mind also that Jersey Stakes winner Le Brivido skipped the race with a hold up but remains a very exciting prospect, while Via Ravenna proved she stays the trip when finding only Roly Poly too strong in the Rothschild.

Straight course stays true to form

Roly Poly and Ryan Moore en route to Group 1 victory in the Prix Rothschild at the end of July

Deauville’s straight course stood up remarkably well to a month’s wear and tear and consistently produced a fair and even test across the width of the track, something that cannot always be said at the top European meetings. 

Although there were a few traffic problems in the Rothschild as the jockeys headed for the stands’ rail, there appeared to be no bias and both Tom Eaves – ice cool on Brando in the Maurice de Gheest – and Stephane Pasquier on Signs Of Blessing in the Meautry, showed that being out in the middle of the track was no hindrance.

By contrast, not every trainer finds round-course form at Deauville reliable, with the ten-furlong layout over almost two full turns and a relatively short home straight.

For all that, Eminent enjoyed a coming of age in the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano and should command respect as he heads for the Arc.

Sprinting not just a girls' game

While the Lady Aurelia-Marsha oh-so-close call in the Nunthorpe was understandably the headline-grabber in the ongoing battle to emerge as the season’s champion sprinter, there were some notable performances on Deauville’s drag strip with a view to the autumn.

Brando looked a world-beater in the Abernant in April and returned to form in a major way in the Maurice de Gheest. Kevin Ryan’s stable star travels in a way very few top-class sprinters can sustain.

Brando: provided a deserving fillip for Kevin Ryan after illness struck his yard
Signs Of Blessing showed his run that day was all wrong when dominating inferior rivals in the Meautry on Sunday and remains a dangerous talent on his best days.

And the name Cox Bazar could be worth adding to your Racing Post horse tracker portfolio, having shown such early speed in the Prix du Cercle his rivals were all off the bit after two furlongs.

Runner-up Son Cesio franked the form when winning the Golden Peitsche on Sunday and Cox Bazar is expected to join Signs Of Blessing in the Abbaye.

Take a bow

Charlie Appleby saddled three Pattern winners in Deauville, including Mythical Magic (pictured), an impressive winner of the Prix Francois Boutin

British and Irish trainers enjoyed a rich harvest, winning 13 of the 29 black type races at Deauville and Clairefontaine run during the last month.

In chronological order, congratulations are due to Mark Johnston, Aidan O’Brien, Kevin Ryan, Charlie Appleby, Luca Cumani, Jamie Osborne, Chris Wall, Martyn Meade, Appleby (again), Appleby (yet again!), Roger Varian, Karl Burke and Hughie Morrison.

If you are interested in this, you might like:

Order Of St George and Rekindling in frame for Melbourne Cup challenge

Arc bid on the cards for Eminent – and Meade says best is yet to come


E.W. Terms