The French seaside welcomed the return of the Deauville festival after a weekend of intense racing as the flat racing season reaches its peak. With the sun shining and supporters back to packing out marquees and checking bookies for the most favorable odds and best offers in horse betting. The month-long festivities in France continued this weekend, with plenty of key talking points and decisive moments. The August race festival has several key dates to jot on the calendar and having already witnessed the Maurice de Gheest, which was won by Marianafoot, now was the flagship race of the festival — the prix Jaques le Marois, worth an incredible €1,000,000.
To those unfamiliar, the Group 1 race is open to horses aged three and over, with previous winners including the likes of Billy Lee’s Romanisedand Al Wukair, owned by the famous Fankie Dettori. This wasn’t the jockeys only winning horse though, as this weekend Palace Pier retained his title from last year for a second successive win. Besides another victory for the Italian, there were plenty of other key talking points from the weekends action so read on as we discuss what happened at Deauville.
Free wind dominant
With so much attention usually placed on the Group 1 races, the hard work and dominant displays of some Group 3 horses can sometimes go overshadowed. In just a fifth career race, another member of the John and Thady Gosden entourage raced by Fankie Dettori collected another prize with the brilliance of Free wind. Looking even more experienced, the George Strawbridge owned horse won by a length and a half a head of initial favouriteBurgarita.
Alpine Star comes up short
Despite being tipped for big things this weekend, the fact of the matter is that Alpine Star flattered to deceive. After just missing out last year by three quarters of a length, Jessica Harrington’s horse looked poised to gain redemption in Deauville, with other runners up prizes coming at the Coronation Stakes at the Royal Ascot. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride it seems, as the filly was once again unsuccessful. The soft ground, which was supposed to be a big aid after their return race at York, ended up being a bigger asset for eventual winner Palace Pier — withAlpine Starfinishingeighth.
Dettori at the double
As mentioned before this was not the only accolade Dettori won on the day and this wasn’t the first time he’d collected top prize in the Jacques le Marois. Palace Pier regained his champions status, prevailing by a neck from Poetic Flare to make it four from four for the season.
Trainer John Gosden was full of praise for not just Dettori but for the work rate of his horse after coming into the race with much less preparation and fitness than usual.
“I’ll be absolutely frank with you, we’ve come here on the bare minimum of work, but his class got him through. He said.
“He’s blowing hard, but if you don’t come for the Jacques le Marois, it’s a rather pointless year, we always wanted to come back here.
“I ran him on 80 per cent fitness; he’s got the class and the jockey. It’s full marks for him, he was definitely tiring in the last few strides, that’s because he was ill and missed a lot of time. It was a superb race full of fabulous horses; the second horse is made of iron.”