Friday 23 February 2018

Head hails Moonlight's Deauville success as Dream fails to deliver

JULY Cup hero Dream Ahead proved a big disappointment as Freddy Head's filly Moonlight Cloud ran right away from her male rivals in yesterday's Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

The daughter of Invincible Spirit scorched home by four lengths under Thierry Jarnet, giving Head his fourth victory in six runnings of this contest

Moonlight Cloud started favourite for the English 1,000 Guineas but flopped behind Blue Bunting, with a long delay at the start put forward as one reason. Another is very likely lack of stamina for a mile, and the drop back to six and a half furlongs brought her first success at the top level.

It was very nearly a Head one-two after his veteran triple winner Marchard d'Or failed by a neck to catch James Fanshawe-trained Society Rock. Genki was a nose behind in fourth, in front of another British raider, early trailblazer Wootton Bassett.

"She was disappointing in the Guineas," said Head, "but she has always had class and this sort of distance is much better."

A slight step up in trip to the seven furlongs of the Prix de La Foret is planned for George Strawbridge's filly, with Society Rock, Genki and Dream Ahead due to regroup in the Sprint Cup at Haydock over six. The last-named's trainer David Simcock was as mystified as any by the display of his charge. "The gap was there for him and he just couldn't go through it," he said.

Aidan O'Brien's Zoffany was out of the money, finishing second last.

In Germany, Epsom Oaks heroine Dancing Rain made every yard of the running under Kieren Fallon to claim the German Oaks at Dusseldorf. Trained by William Haggas, the imposing filly thrived under the same positive tactics which saw her gallop to victory in the Epsom equivalent.

At Downpatrick yesterday, claiming jockey Eddie O'Connell landed a double courtesy of wins aboard Colin McBratney's Bachelor Lad, which surprised Gordon Elliott's 3/10 favourite Atlanta Falcon, and the Sean Thornton-trained Street Runner.

Bachelor Lad's success completed a double for McBratney, who captured the opening maiden hurdle with Nodelay, which was backed into 15/8 favouritism and triumphed easily in the hands of Andrew McNamara. Elliott did send out one winner as his Court Lexi was ridden to a 12-length victory under Nina Carberry ahead of Pond Cottage in the bumper.

Meanwhile, the Shergar Cup was a resounding success at Ascot on Saturday as the crown for the top team went again to Ireland's jockeys, skippered by Richard Hughes with the assistance of Fran Berry and Colm O'Donoghue.

Irish Independent

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