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Godolphin’s diverse trio in bid for Maurice de Gheest glory

J A McGrath

Three Godolphin contenders from three different stables mount a potent challenge for honours in Sunday’s G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, France.

As a bunch, they have varied profiles, as can often occur in this often fascinating contest, run over six and a half furlongs at the picturesque Normandy track.

Charlie Appleby is backing up D’Bai only five days after the Dubawi gelding finished a close fifth in Tuesday’s G2 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, having endured a rough passage in the home straight when denied a clear run several times.

Appleby said: “He has come back from Goodwood a fresh horse. It’s as if he hadn’t had a race, so this is a perfect opportunity for a quick reappearance.”

D’Bai won the G3 John Of Gaunt Stakes, over seven furlongs, at Haydock Park in June, prior to a respectable sixth in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot two weeks later.

“He loves being in behind horses, so we knew that he had to be ridden for luck at Goodwood, but the luck never came his way. In a field of 20 this time, it could be the same story, but he is a horse who has to be produced late, right on the line,” he added.

Andre Fabre appears to have taken the sprinting route with Inns Of Court, who finished a close second to Al Wukair in last year’s one-mile G1 Prix Jacques le Marois, in which Thunder Snow was a close third.

The four-year-old comes to this off the back of a victory in the G3 Prix de Ris-Oranges over six furlongs.

“He is in good form and handles this track well. He has an excellent record on the straight course and appears to appreciate shorter trips as well,” Fabre said.

“He is a horse we like a lot and feel he deserves a G1 to his name. But everything will need to go right for him in such a big field,” the trainer added.

Henri-Alex Pantall sends out three-year-old Wootton as the third Godolphin contender following a fourth in the G1 French 2,000 Guineas and an excellent third in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Pantall said: “Wootton has been working well and is only racing for the fourth time this year. He’s trying a straight course and dropping below a mile for the first time, so there are a few unknowns. But he’s a horse with untapped potential and we’re hoping for a good run.”

This is a particularly strong field for the latest renewal of the Prix Maurice de Gheest, which caters for high class sprinters, who just need that extra 100 yards to be at their most effective.