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Prix Maurice de Gheest preview

August racing in Europe means the pomp and glamour of Deauville in France. Today features probably the only Group 1 race in the world over 6.5 furlongs (1300m) although Brisbane does have the Doomben 10,000 over 1350m.

With his assessment of this classy field, it's international racecalling prodigy Luke Humphreys, @WorldRacingLuke.

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Larc Prix Maurice de Gheest
Group 1, 1300m
€350,000
1610 local time, 1510 BST, 0010 AEST

Prices correct at time of writing

1 Watchable (33/1) (United Kingdom): Has risen in grade this year, compared to last, from good handicaps to group races, it’s been a fair return. Strong run first-up in the G3 Abernant Stakes has was then fifth in the G3 Palace House Stakes, Wokingham Stakes and G3 Chipchase Chases. He bombed out last time when last of four in the G3 Hackwood Stakes when 13/8 favourite. 33/1 is unders to be perfectly honest.

2 Son Cesio (25/1) (France): Comes into this off a career best run with victory in the G3 Prix de Ris-Orangis in what looked a fair renewal for a race of that nature. LR Prix Hampton winner before that up the straight 5f at Chantilly. In good form but will need a huge performance to win. He’ll come home midfield.

3 Gordon Lord Byron (11/2) (Ireland): One of the great warriors of this sport. Has raced in Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and Australia running at carnivals such as The Championships, Dubai World Cup Night, Hong Kong International Day, Arc Day, Royal Ascot and British Champions Day. Has a great record here in France with a victory in the 2012 G1 Prix de la Foret, second in that race in 2013 and 2014 and a staying on third in this race in 2013. In good form too coming off a victory and a second in LR and G3 events during the Derby and Oaks carnivals in Ireland. Found it very interesting to see Richard Kingscote riding him.

4 Noozhoh Canarias (25/1) (France): Former “boom” horse who has best runs include a second in the 2013 G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, and a 3rd in last year’s G1 Prix de la Foret, he’s also ran 6th in last year’s Guineas and July Cup. However has not performed to his best abilities as of yet this year, his best run this year was last start when 3rd in the G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot but at his best he would’ve won that with his legs in the air. Doubt it and even if he returned to his best I’d doubt victory.

5 Robert Le Diable (33/1) (France): Has really improved this season and has run second in his last four runs with two of those being in the Wokingham and behind Mecca’s Angel. 33/1 looks good overs for a good E-W bet that is only improving and progressing.

6 Gammarth (33/1) (France): 11th of 14 beaten 8 ½ Lengths in this race last year. Last two runs he’s finished fifth to Muthmir in the G2 Prix du Gros-Chene, and third in the G3 Prix de Ris-Orangis. Doubt it.

7 Coulsty (25/1) (United Kingdom): Winner of the G3 Prix de Meautry over 6f at this track last year. Only had the one run since which was a nose victory over Aljamaaheer in the LR King Edward III Stakes. Would surprise though.

8 Majestic Queen (25/1) (Ireland): Last three starts have been good including a G3 victory in the Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield and a 3rd to Mustajeeb in the G2 Greenlands Stakes. Place only.

9 Esotérique (9/2) (France): Extremely fascinating runner in this particular race. Winner of last year’s G1 Prix Rothschild, mystifying to see her skip that race for this. Ran well subsequently in the G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and G1 Sun Chariot Stakes. Comes into this off a career best effort when running Solow to 0.75 length in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes. That’s the best form going into this by a long way however the 1300m has to be a query, especially when it was a staying on second last time over one of the longest miles in the world, but not many no better than Andre Fabre.

10 Muhaarar (6/4) (United Kingdom): Became Europe’s best sprinter last time with his very tough G1 July Cup victory. Also winner of the G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and the G3 Greenham Stakes winner. Only run in France was in the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp where he stayed on for eighth. The 6 ½f should suit absolutely perfectly. The one to beat.

11 Ivawood (11/2) (United Kingdom): Put in good performances behind Muhaarar in the Greenham and Gleneagles in the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas. Was very disappointing however in the G3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, he was inconvenienced 2f out but he was gone anyway and was very ordinary. Will need to improve on that but at his best he will.

12 Fontanelice (33/1) (France): Consistent 3YO filly who was fourth in the French 1000 Guineas and 10th in the French Oaks but won’t be good enough.

Summary
Always a great race is the Prix Maurice de Gheest over the odd 1300m trip but it suits most horses and is arguably France’s biggest sprint race. (10) Muhaarar was lethal at Royal Ascot but was tough at Newmarket and the 1300m should suit him perfectly and he’s the one. I think (9) Esotérique has the best form, evidenced by Queen Anne second to Solow, but the 1300m has to be a concern of some sort, especially when it was a staying on 2nd over the testing mile at Ascot, but Andre Fabre always knows what he’s doing. (3) Gordon Lord Byron is a champion and should be up there somewhere as per usual. (5) Robert le Diable has been running really well of late and even though it would surprise if he won he could be a top E-W/Place bet at 33/1. (11) Ivawood has been great this season bar last start which he’ll need to bounce back from with Frankie Dettori. (2) Son Cesio is improving and shouldn’t be too far away along with (6) Gammarth, (8) Majestic Queen, (7) Coulsty and the old “hype” horse (4) Noozhoh Canarias.

Selections
(10) Muhaarar - (9) Esotérique - (3) Gordon Lord Byron - (5) Robert le Diable - (11) Ivawood - (2) Son Cesio - (6) Gammarth - (8) Majestic Queen - (7) Coulsty - (4) Noozhoh Canarias.

The Bet
Always like value so wouldn’t mind (5) Robert Le Diable Each-Way/Place at 33/1 but even (10) Muhaarar looks fair odds at 6/4.

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