Goldikova takes another step towards a defense of her Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) title when she lines up against eight other rivals in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville Aug. 16.
The 4-year-old daughter of Anabaa enters the one mile contest off an impressive victory in the Prix Rothschild (Fr-I) on Aug. 2. Prior to that race, Goldikova also captured the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket. Both of these wins came after a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I) in her seasonal debut.
Goldikova will be facing some tough competition on Sunday, with four fellow group I winners in the line up. Gladiatorus enters the Jacques Le Marois with some impressive credentials, having been rated the top horse in the world after his commanding victory in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at Nad al Sheba in March.
Making his first start wearing the Godolphin blue, Gladiatorus finished a well-beaten sixth to Paco Boy in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot in June. Given time off since then, Gladiatorus looks to continue the recent upswing of the Godolphin runners. The stable has been on a hot streak of late, notching 19 wins (three of them in stakes) in England and capturing two grade I races in North America since August 1.
Another contender who enters off of a layoff is the Jean-Claude Rouget trainee, Never On Sunday. The 4-year-old son of Sunday Break will be returning to a mile after a good third to Vision d’Etat in the ten furlong Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot. Never On Sunday notched his first group I victory when taking the Prix d’Ispahan over Goldikova earlier this season.
The fourth group I victor in the field is Silver Frost, a 3-year-old son of Verglas who captured the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Fr-I) this past spring. The connections of the French classic winner then tried to stretch him out, running him in the 11-furlong Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I), where he finished a lackluster sixth. Reverting back to a mile, Silver Frost looks to be a major competitor here.
The John Gosden-trained Virtual took the Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) by a nose over Alexandros in a thrilling blanket finish. The Cheveley Park homebred also reverts back to his best distance after finishing unplaced in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
There are some other contenders who could possibly upset things in the race. Aqlaam, a son of Oasis Dream trained by William Haggas, has been knocking on the door in group I company all season. The bay colt won the totesport.com Summer Mile (Eng-II) in his last start.
Irian, a German-bred 3-year-old colt conditioned by top trainer Jens Hirschberger, has won three of four lifetime starts, including the Mehl-Muhlens-Rennen [German 2,000 Guineas] (Ger-II) in May.
The field is rounded out by outsiders Runaway and Only Green, a stablemate of Goldikova who usually sets the pace for her more illustrious entry mate.