For many years the Prix Rothschild – formerly the Prix d’Astarte – went exclusively to French stables but it has been a very different story in the recent narrative of this first G1 of Deauville’s spectacular August season.
In the last ten years this charge up the straight 1600m of Normandy’s famous seaside track has six times gone to English and Irish stables, and it will be zero surprise if that trend continues on Tuesday.
For fillies and mares, it is the four-year-old Newmarket-trained Saffron Beach and the year younger Tenebrism representing Aidan O’Brien Ballydoyle stable that look to hold the aces.
One reason is perhaps that their respective riders William Buick and Ryan Moore are having spectacular summer campaigns – big race after big race falling to one or the other of these two great riders.
But the main reason is the achievements of the two fillies. Saffron Beach had blitzed from the front to win the G1 Sun Chariot Stakes (1600m) at Newmarket last October finishing an easy 3l ahead of last year’s Prix Rothschild winner Mother Earth. And she was at least as stylish when winning June’s Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot – also over a straight 1600m – Buick easing her down late for a cosy 3 1/2l verdict despite shouldering a 5lb G1 penalty in that G2 contest.
Trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam says: “We went to Royal Ascot thinking it would be tough under the penalty, but she proved just how good she is. She’s special.”
Buick says of that Royal Ascot Ascot triumph: “She was in a nice rhythm and I kicked early because I knew she stayed the mile.”
That comment surely offers a clue as to tactics on Tuesday as chief threat Tenebrism is not yet proven at 1600m, with her pedigree not conclusive as to whether she can be as effective as when Moore launched her with deadly accuracy to speed past mostly male rivals in the G1 Prix Jean Prat over 1400m at Deauville this month.
Moore also partnered the daughter of Caravaggio to a G1 victory in the 1200m Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket last September- on just her second career start – and earlier 2022 G1 disappointments on fast ground at Newmarket and Ascot were quickly forgotten at Deauville. Moore says: “It was good to come back to a level track and nice ground and, once she got room, she accelerated like a motorbike.”
Ireland have another interesting candidate in Pearls Galore, twice proven at 1600m – latterly when winning the G2 Lanwades Stud Stakes at The Curragh in May. Jockey Billy Lee is likely to try and produce this talented daughter of Invincible Spirit late, as she can rapidly lose concentration when finding herself in front.
Hard to say which of the French quartet are most likely to return the Prix Rothschild to local hands. Malavath (Christophe Soumillon) and Kennella (Stephane Pasquier) have winning form at Deauville in G3 and Listed company respectively whilst Sibila Spain (Aurelien Lemaitre) won the G2 Prix du Muguet over this trip at Saint-Cloud in May but, like Maxime Guyon’s mount Goldistyle, has never competed at Deauville before.