Moonlight Cloud lit up the Deauville turf as her scintillating turn of foot claimed yet more Group 1 glory in the Prix Jacques le Marois, turning away the late-thrusting charge of Olympic Glory for her second Group 1 victory in a week.
Thrice a winner of the Prix Maurice du Gheest, Moonlight Cloud has long been regarded as a mare of exceptional ability, consistency and one that Freddie Head had spoke of in the same manner as his picture of perfection Goldikova in the past. However, this victory would mark a further step up amongst racing's elite with an exceptional performance that would turn away the lofty reputations of Dawn Approach and Intello en route to glory.
Moonlight Cloud had suffered from a lack of respect coming into this Group 1 contest. A multiple Group 1-winning mare, the general racing public seemingly could not count the daughter of Invincible Spirit as a viable opponent to the European Classic duo in this contest. To many, Moonlight Cloud was a mare who had failed to see out the mile distance with any real conviction, yet her performance in the Prix Maurice du Gheest just seven days prior had fully advertised her as being in the form of her life.
Sent off as the third favourite in one of the strongest renewals of the Prix Jacques le Marois ever, Moonlight Cloud settled comfortably under Thierry Jarnet towards the tail end of the field as the pacemakers set a strong early gallop. As the runners head towards the business end of the race, Moonlight Cloud sauntered past her rivals as she produced her exceptional turn of foot to power into a comfortable three length lead.
WIth the race seemingly at her mercy, Moonlight Cloud would have to prove her ability to truly stay a mile in the concluding stage as Olympic Glory and Frankie Dettori powered out of the pack in pursuit of the mare. With Dettori salivating at the prospect of his first Group victory since returning from a six month ban, Olympic Glory continued to make exceptional progress towards the Freddie Head trained mare only for the line to come agonisingly too soon. Richard Hannon's returning star would go down by the shortest of margins with a performance that the team will take great heart from, fully in the knowledge that they have trained the son of Choisir back to his very best.
For many this was a case of one race too far for Dawn Approach. A star colt whom has lit up a Classic division that has often been founding wanting, Dawn Approach was racing in his fifth race of the last ninety-nine days and just ten days after a tough defeat at the hands of Toronado in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes. Whilst Moonlight Cloud was also backing up quickly from her last race, it is of note that the mare has been carefully handled by Freddie Head over the last few years to enable her to perform at her very best at every opportunity.
Finishing ninth in the race, Dawn Approach will now received some antibiotics after being reported to have scoped badly after the race with Jim Bolger aiming towards the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot's British Champions Day [October 19] as the end of season target, a race which may see him re-engage in battle with either Olympic Glory or Toronado.
Finishing third, Intello ran a respectable race against a plethora of exceptionally talented milers with Andre Fabre confident that his charge will seen to good effect later in the season. Seemingly lacking the turn of foot to be competitive amongst the crème de la crème of the mile division, Intello has the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe [October 6] and the British Champion Stakes [October 19] on his radar with the latter seemingly perfectly tailored for his ten furlong abilities.