For our NAP on Sunday 6 August we’re going to Deauville, in north-west France. A track that’s often raided by British and Irish horses, and that’s certainly the case today.
The Prix Maurice de Gheest is a Group 1 sprint over six-and-a-half-furlongs, and the ground is reportedly on the easy side. Must have had plenty of the kind of rain we’re getting sadly used to.
At around 190,000 euros to the winner it’s a fabulous pot, and I’m hoping all that lovely cash is on its way this afternoon to Yorkshire.
Art Power is in the form of his life. In a Group 2 at the Curragh a couple of weeks ago he absolutely bolted up with what was surely a career-best effort. The 6-yr-old gelding is by Dark Angel, who got his Group 1 in the Middle Park at HQ over 6f.
His son now bids to score at the very highest level on a foreign field, over an extended 6, but shrewd handler Tim Easterby has had this plot in mind for some time. Soft ground is absolutely spot on, and if there’s a chink in the armour it might I guess be that extra half a furlong – but Easterby will surely have weighed that against numerous alternative targets he could have pursued, and concluded he’d be fine.
Such has been his dominance in soft-ground sprints in Ireland in recent years I must confess I’d be more confident if this was at the Curragh, but as I said if there are shrewder outfits than the Easterbys I wouldn’t mind making their acquaintance.
He’s owned by King Power Racing Club, and is officially the top-rated entrant. He’s got his ground, he’s in brilliant form – he just needs to stretch out over that extra half-furlong to bag the so-far elusive Group 1. Regular pilot David Allan again takes the ride and knows him so well.
Hearing or seeing the name Easterby I immediately think of greats like Sea Pigeon, and Night Nurse. But one of the dynasties’ latest standard-bearers is a flat horse attempting an audacious overseas raid this afternoon and I wish all connections the very best of luck.