Deauville’s Marois lives up to its billing as a showcase of stars

J A McGrath

This is a weekend to contrast the tradition of a French race renowned as a ‘kingmaker’ with the relative brashness of an American contest that proved instrumental in pushing back the frontiers of international competition.

Stand by for renewals of Deauville’s G1 Prix Jacques le Marois — it looks a real ‘cracker’ on paper — and Chicago’s biggest race, the G1 Arlington Million, that continues to hold its own 37 years after it won fame as the first $1m race in America.

Godolphin interest rests with Cascadian, who takes his place in what may prove a vintage running of the Prix Jacques le Marois on Sunday. 

Trainer Andre Fabre said: “Cascadian comes into the race in good form. The horse is very straightforward and has probably come on a bit again since his last race, but obviously faces a competitive field.

“His ability and the strength of the three-year-old form is on trial,” he added.

The star-studded line-up is headed by brilliant filly Alpha Centauri, who will be attempting to notch a ninth win in the one mile showpiece for her owners, the Niarchos Family, whose Haras Le Fresnay-Le-Buffard sponsor the event.

But apart from Cascadian, the opposition features G1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Romanised, the progressive locally-trained duo, With You and Recoletos, plus British challenger Accidental Agent, who took Royal Ascot’s G1 Queen Anne Stakes in good style.

If bloodlines have any relevance in determining the outcome, it should be mentioned that Alpha Centauri is certainly bred for the job.

Her grandmother East Of The Moon won the Marois in 1994, while her great grandmother Miesque, an outstanding filly, took the race in 1987 and 1988.

For a descendant of those two bluebloods to win would truly be a great achievement.

In Chicago, good judges are making a case for Oscar Performance to maintain his great form of late in the Arlington Million. The 2017 Secretariat Stakes winner recently won a G3 in New York and continues on an upward curve.

Century Dream is a key British entry, who could find the track and distance to his liking. He looks to have solid place claims.