Deauville paved with Gold for Head

SOME well-regarded fillies were put well in their place at Deauville yesterday as Freddie Head landed his third Group One of the season with Goldikova in the Prix Rothschild.

Formerly run as the Prix d’Astarte, the one-mile event attracted a stellar line-up that included the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained pair of Darjina and Royal Ascot winner Sabana Perdida, Mark Johnston’s Falmouth winner Nahoodh and the 1000 Guineas winner Natagora.

But it was the unheralded Goldikova, who has been put in her place twice by Royer-Dupre’s star Zarkava already this season, who ran out a pretty emphatic winner.

Head also ran Spring Touch as a pacemaker for the winner but with the trail-blazing Natagora in the field she could not even get to the front.

It did not seem to matter to Olivier Peslier’s mount though as she sat just on the tail of Natagora and quickened impressively inside the final furlong.

The Guineas winner had no response but Darjina, conceding 7lb to the winner, came from the rear of the field and got within half a length, mainly due to the fact that Goldikova appeared to drift to the right.

Nahoodh failed to reproduce her best form and finished fourth while David Elsworth’s Barshiba was sixth.

“Natagora went too fast for our leader, but I got a good position anyway,” said Peslier.

“Goldikova was looking about a bit in the final furlong, but that is normal on a straight course over a mile and that is the reason I changed my whip.”

Head, also on the mark at the top level with Marchand D’Or and Tamayuz in a memorable summer, added: “She is an exceptional filly as she has a lot of speed. She was able to follow the pace without being keen.

“I did expect a performance of this calibre because she has progressed a lot since the spring.”

Patrick Barbe, racing manager to Natagora’s owner Stefan Friborg, said: “Natagora did not run her race today. She has not run up to form.”

Paul Cole’s Abbeyside failed in his bid for glory when just edged out in the Group Three Prix de Cabourg. The colt was always prominent down the centre of the track in the hands of Christophe Soumillon and was in front inside the last of six furlongs.

However, Peslier had been sat on the favourite’s heels throughout and delivered Silver Frost with a telling late burst to steal the glory.

Oliver Cole, son and assistant to his father, said: “He would have preferred much better ground and that is probably what got him beat today.”

* Zacinto, a general 14-1 chance for next year’s Stan James 2000 Guineas, is on course to take the next step up the ladder at Doncaster. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt was an impressive eight-length winner of a Sandown maiden on his racecourse bow and connections are now eyeing a switch to Group Two company.

“All being well, he will go to the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster next month after what was an encouraging debut,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.

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