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THE CURRAGH Advertise defies O’Brien quartet in the Phoenix
DEAUVILLE Alpha Centauri faces a fabulous field in the Marois


3.20 Deauville (Prix Jacques Le Marois): As colt after colt has watered down the Derby form, we’ve waited for another Enable, a filly to take over the scene.

Today the main hope as the new wonder filly, Alpha Centauri, has a severe test in the Marois. Against the colts. Against another filly of massive potential.

That filly is With You, trained by Freddy Head, who only a week ago landed this column a Group 1 with Polydream.

Yes, Freddy’s flying, and I posted a piece midweek to say that With You was flying, too; impressive in her final gallop.

The ground will suit and she probably represents the best form in the race, having run narrowly second to Laurens in both the French Oaks and the Saint-Alary.

Laurens and Wild Illusion, second and fourth in the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas, have taken the form to the top, with Wild Illusion winning the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

Altyn Orda, who was fifth in the Guineas, was even further behind Alpha Centauri in the Falmouth Stakes and, though I think it’s not quite that much, officially the Laurens form is 8lb behind Alpha Centauri.

But (there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there), as I warned in the week, the soft ground at Deauville today will narrow the gap.

It may also affect the chances of French Derby fourth (on soft) and Jean Prat winner (on good), Intellogent.

Andre Fabre agrees with me that the colts are not the best we’ve seen, but he has freshened up Cascadian since his short-neck defeat by Intellogent in the Jean Prat.

The older horses, Accidental Agent and Recoletos, make this a very hot contest indeed but the three-year-olds usually win (6-10) unless there’s a Goldikova (F Head again) around!

It would be nice to see my Fortune Cookies surge back to the 1,000-points profit mark through Alpha Centauri but I put up With You at 6-1 earlier because of the ground and feel she has an excellent place chance, if the course doesn’t dry out.


3.35 The Curragh (Phoenix Stakes): Aidan O’Brien excuses Sergei Prokofiev’s defeat in the Coventry because of a bug that was going around the stables.

But, though he has weighted the Phoenix Stakes scales in his favour today with four of the six runners, his strike-rate remains moderate (7-50 for 14%).

Advertise and Sergei Prokofiev were separated by a neck when second and third in the Coventry.

The fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth have all run since and been beaten in lower-level Group races.

The handicapper rates Advertise 2lb in front of Sergei because he’s won the July Stakes since.

Gossamer Wings (second) and So Perfect (fourth) represent Queen Mary form, with a 3lb fillies’ allowance.

The Queen Mary winner has since beaten the colts in the Prix Robert Papin, but Gossamer Wings was only fourth in the July Stakes, while So Perfect dropped to a Group 3 to get off the mark.

There is more immediate collateral form between the colts and the fillies, though it’s from back in the Spring, and could have been well overtaken by now.

A filly called Skitter Skatter, who ran second in So Perfect’s Group 3 (headed final strides), had beaten Sergei Prokofiev at Dundalk in April.

But Sergei was giving 5lb that day and jockey Donnacha O’Brien was probably caught napping trying to let Sergei sneak it under hands and heels riding.

There seems no alternative then but to take sides between Advertise and Sergei Prokofiev. Advertise has the edge on form but O’Brien tactics will make it hard for him.

Choosing between them is not helped by the market, which offered 2.32 each of two early mouse. Later in the morning Advertise just edged favouritism, and that’s my verdict, too.


2.00 Leicester (win 20)
BET 1pt win and place EDGEWOOD

2.50 Windsor (win 20)

3.20 Deauville (win 20)
BET 4pts win and place WITH YOU

3.35 The Curragh (win 20)
BET 15pts win (nap) ADVERTISE

4.10 The Curragh (win 20)

3.20 Deauville ALPHA CENTAURI
2.45 Deauville ZARKAMIYA
4.10 Deauville WINDSTOSS

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