Goldikova continued her march to the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships with another powerful performance, this time taking the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville Aug. 16 by a rousing six lengths.
The Jacques Le Marois victory marked the sixth career group/grade I win for the 4-year-old filly, and was her third straight group I win this year.
The Jacques Le Marois shaped up as a tough renewal, with four other group I winners—Virtual, Never On Sunday, Silver Frost, and Gladiatorus–lining up to face Goldikova. After delaying the start of the race for several minutes due to her reluctance to load into the gate, Goldikova broke sharply under regular rider Olivier Peslier and settled comfortably in third behind Only Green and Aqlaam.
Only Green, who was entered as a pacemaker for Goldikova, began to fade with over three furlongs to go, so Peslier allowed Goldikova to take command of the race earlier than expected.
With a couple of taps from Peslier’s whip, Goldikova began to draw off in the final two furlongs, eventually crossing the line six lengths in front of Aqlaam. The margin of victory was the largest ever recorded in the race. Virtual, under Jimmy Fortune, put in a mild rally to finish third, five lengths behind Aqlaam.
Silver Frost, Never On Sunday, and Gladiatorus were never factors in the race, finishing sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively.
Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:33.5, which knocked a full second off the stakes record, set by Northjet in 1981.
Trainer Freddie Head heaped plenty of praise on his star filly, suggesting after the race that she is even better than Miesque, whom he rode to back-to-back victories in 1987 and 1988 in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT).
“I think she is superior to Miesque as she is better in the head. She has always been a little naughty at the stalls and that is the only fault she has,” Head told the Racing Post following the race.
Regarding future plans, Head told reporters, “We need to discuss where she goes, but I am favoring bypassing the [Prix du] Moulin [de Longchamp (Fr-I) on September 6] and going for the [Total] Prix de la Foret [(Fr-I) on October 3]. The Breeders’ Cup is now in November, so it is later this year and it will be hard for her to keep her form.”
Head continued, “I want to give her a little rest, and the Foret fits in well before the Breeders’ Cup. She might make it look easy but she has still had a race.”
Goldikova was bred in Ireland by her owners, Alain and Gerard Wertheimer. She is by the recently deceased French stallion Anabaa, out of Born Gold, by Blushing Groom. She hails from the immediate female family of French champion Gold River.