Moonlight Cloud Bursts to Deauville Romp
by Mary Schweitzer
Date Posted: 8/5/2012 4:00:15 PM
Last Updated: 8/6/2012 5:56:21 PM
Moonlight Cloud swept past longtime leader The Cheka in the final furlong and cruised to a sharp five-length victory in the Prix Maurice de Gheest (Fr-I) at Deauville Aug. 5.
It was the second straight victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Maurice de Gheest for George Strawbridge's homebred 4-year-old daughter of Invincible Spirit, who now has won seven of 12 career starts for trainer Freddy Head. Moonlight Cloud entered Sunday’s contest off a narrow head defeat to superstar Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot June 23.
At the start it was The Cheka who shot to the front under Olivier Peslier. They were followed by Restiadargent in second, with Moonlight Cloud sitting comfortably in third under Thierry Jarnet.
With a furlong left to go Jarnet let Moonlight Cloud go and the filly swept past the leaders to take the lead. She continued to increase her lead through the final yards and crossed the wire an easy winner.
Wizz Kid closed well to take the runner-up spot, holding off American Devil by a head. American Devil was later disqualified and placed fourth for interfering with The Cheka near the wire. The Cheka was moved up to third.
Final time was 1:15.50 over very soft going.
After the race Head told reporters, “There’ll never be another Goldikova but Moonlight Cloud (is exceptional). She adores the track here at Deauville which is very flat.”
Head continued, “I think Ascot, which climbs at the finish, isn’t so much to her advantage. She doesn’t quite have the same burst of acceleration uphill. But today she’s done an amazing thing here because she’s won within herself.”
Moonlight Cloud was bred in England and is out of the Spectrum mare Ventura, and hails from the immediate family of champions Generous and Imagine.
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