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HRN Original Blog:
Across the Pond

Excelebration heads stellar Marois field‏

With fifteen Group 1 victories between them, this is the familiar feel to a European Group 1 mile that has been absent since the exceptional evolving of Juddmonte's horse of a lifetime, Frankel. Eleven of Europe's best colts and fillies line up in a hotly contested renewal Prix Jacques le Marois on Sunday, a haven for three year olds in recent times, with the sole aim of usurping their rivals in a bid to become the second best turf miler in the world.

Aidan O'Brien's son of Exceed and Excel, Excelebration, (left) looks for somewhat of a relief period from his regular sparring partner on Sunday in his bid for his first Group 1 victory for eleven months. With Joseph O'Brien staying in Ireland to ride the returning Starspangledbanner and the hot two year old prospect, Christoforo Colombo, Ryan Moore makes his debut aboard the colt in which is one of the best spare rides acquired this season. Excelebration looks to win his second race of the season after a string of far-from-disappointing Group 1 second-places since his Group 3 Gladness Stakes victory in April in a race which would provide him with his fourth victory outside of England. Victory outside of England is a familiar mark on Excelebration's formlines, victory in Germany, Ireland and France provide the bulk of this colts victories and arguably provide the most impressive performances of his career. However, whilst consistent at Group 1 level, it is remarkable that Excelebration holds victory in just one solitary Group 1. 

Goldikova doesn't return to the Prix Jacques le Marois this year but her regular race-rider, Olivier Peslier, does. Booked to ride the only horse in the field who is yet to win a Group 1, Peslier looks to have a tough task on the Queen Anne Stakes fourth-placed finisher, Indomito, in a race which is far more competitive than the race behind Frankel at Royal Ascot that he recently competed in. Freddie Head also returns with the intriguing Moonlight Cloud. Victorious last weekend in the Prix Maurice du Gheest over six and a half furlongs, Moonlight Cloud backs up quickly for Head over this increased distance. Her only previous outing over this distance saw her a well beaten seventh-place in the 2011 English 1000 Guineas yet her form over seven furlongs gives increased hope for her class to see her through in this race. The ability is there for Freddie Head's daughter of Invincible Spirit and she is in the form of her life having also run Black Caviar close in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot two months back.

Three year olds have won six of the last ten runnings of this race, the last two victors relegating Goldikova to a hard fought second-place, and John Gosden is responsible for two of the three year old entries here. In a fantastic season for Gosden which has been well documented on Horse Racing Nation, the master trainer looks to continue his exceptional form with fillies with the double-handed attack of Fallen For You and Elusive Kate. Winner of the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, Fallen For You has not been seen since that race and returns off of a seven week break as the preference for stable jockey, William Buick. Unable to pick the right stable horse in the Nassau Stakes when cruelly defeated by The Fugue when aboard Izzi Top, Buick has picked an unexposed daughter of Dansili over Elusive Kate. A four-length annihilation of a talented Coronation Stakes field inspires confidence that a lot more is yet to come from Buick's mount as the season goes along but her toughest competition may yet come from her stable mate. 

Elusive Kate (above right) has been incredibly progressive since her late seasonal reappearance. A second-place finish in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes was followed up by an easy defeat of Andre Fabre's Golden Lilac - who reopposes here - in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild - a race Goldikova herself used to use as a prep race for the Prix Jacques le Marois. Elusive Kate has established herself as a major within this year's fillies Classic division and victory here in the Prix Jacques le Marois could see her cement her position at the top of that table. Frankie Dettori renews the partnership with the filly having rode a masterful race on her in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes in July. That partnership could see Buick beaten yet again by his stablemate. 

Most Improved, an easy winner of the Group 1 St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, and German Guineas victor, Caspar Netscher, round out the three year old assault. Facile 2012 Dubai Duty Free victor, Cityscape, 2011 Poule d'Essai des Poulains winner, Tin Horse, and the defending champion, Immortal Verse, (left) fly the flag for the elders.  

 

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Older Comments about Excelebration heads stellar Marois field‏...

Without Frankel to deal with, Excelebration proves he is a very good horse!
I have to agree with yukichan; if not for Frankel, Excelebration would have a lot more wins. Definitely his race to lose.
Excelebration would have a string of consecutive G1 victories, and would be hailed as a "super horse" if not for the misfortune of racing in the same years as Frankel. I think he'll step out of Frankel's shadow and into the spotlight. He's immensely talented.