Tuesday’s (3 August) G1 Prix Rothschild over Deauville’s straight 1600m is the focus on the first day of the traditional summer meeting at Normandy’s fabled seaside track.
Plenty of interesting and high quality distaff milers are taking part, perhaps none more so than France’s Coeursamba and Ireland’s Mother Earth – both 2021 European Classic winners.
The two fillies were both busy at two – not always a good sign for progress at three – but in their cases it is in 2021 that they have hit the jackpot.
Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget and Aidan O’Brien, respectively – both men already have a Prix Rothschild winner on their CV – and these two wonderful three-year-olds are already acquainted on a racecourse after outsider Coeursamba mocked her long odds to secure a shock victory over warm favourite Mother Earth in May’s 1600m G1 French Classic, Longchamp’s Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.
"She showed me that day the double acceleration that good horses have," said Rouget who described himself as ‘pleasantly surprised,’ at his fifth Pouliches victory, also confessing that he was not so surprised when – despite a poor trip in a rough race – Coeursamba later patently failed to thrive over the 2100m of June’s G1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly.
The prestige of the Diane – the French equivalent to the Oaks at Epsom – is an irresistible temptation for French connections but Rouget has always insisted that 1600m is the proper trip for this daughter of speed-influencing sire The Wow Signal.
Off the track since that 20th June episode, the Rothschild has been a confirmed mid-summer destination for Coeursamba’s return.
Before Mother Earth’s close encounter with Coeursamba at Longchamp, the daughter of Zoffany had flourished over a straight 1600m with a terrific victory in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket under a patient ride from Frankie Dettori. The legendary Italian jockey said at the time: "She is not very big but has a huge engine."
And, after the subsequent Longchamp reverse, this super tough filly survived rain-drenched ground to finish a close third to Alcohol Free in Royal Ascot’s G1 Coronation Stakes (1594m) before being grabbed in the last strides by Snow Lantern in Newmarket’s Falmouth Stakes, another 1600m G1. That July encounter is considered by some as the 2021 UK season’s most gripping race.
And a few days ago, Alcohol Free and Snow Lantern finished first and third, respectively, in the G1 Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood with super colt Poetic Flare sandwiched in between – a real compliment to Mother Earth prior to her Prix Rothschild rendezvous.
Aidan O’Brien said of Mother Earth: "She is a very relaxed filly, extremely consistent and as we have seen again and again, she can quicken."