Goldikova will face seven rivals when she bids for a repeat victory in the $407,904 Qatar Prix de la Foret (Fr-I) at Longchamp Oct. 2.
The Freddy Head-trained mare used her victory in this race as a springboard to a successful defense of her title in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) in 2010. The 6-year-old daughter of Anabaa, who drew post two in the Foret, is chasing after her 15th group/grade I success in the seven-furlong contest. She will be ridden once again by Olivier Peslier.
Goldikova has had yet another successful season so far, which has been carefully orchestrated by her trainer. The bay mare has made four starts this year, winning the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I) and Prix Rothschild (Fr-I), and finishing a close second in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) and Prix Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I). In the latter two races, she was narrowly defeated by Canford Cliffs (in the Queen Anne) and Immortal Verse (Prix Jacques Le Marois).
Goldikova faces some tough competition in the Foret, which is led by three-time group I winner Dream Ahead. The 3-year-old colt by Diktat has developed into a top class sprinter this year for trainer David Simcock, having notched victories in both the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) and the Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I). Both of those victories came at six furlongs; the colt is still unproven at the seven-furlong distance of the Foret. William Buick will ride.
Others in the field include Worthadd, a 4-year-old colt by Dubawi who won the Premio Carlo Vittadini (It-II) over eight furlongs in May. Prior to that, the bay colt was second to Canford Cliffs in the JLT Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I). This will be only the second time Worthadd has raced at the seven-furlong distance. In his only previous attempt, he won a conditions race at San Siro in April. Frankie Dettori will ride for trainer Vittorio Caruso.
Trainer Mikel Delzangles sends out the durable campaigner Marchand d'Or. The hard-knocking 8-year-old gelding has made 35 lifetime starts, and has won at distances ranging from five to seven furlongs. Marchand d’Or had a banner year as a 5-year-old in 2008, when he rattled off three straight group I victories. The grey gelding has had various niggling problems since then, but is now healthy and rounding back into top form. So far this season, Marchand d’Or finished a good third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest-Goldikova (Fr-I) before going on to win the Prix de Meautry (Fr-III). Jockey Davy Bonilla, who has ridden the gelding in all of his starts, will once again be in the saddle.
Johnny Murtagh will ride Bewitched, a 4-year-old filly by Dansili trained by Charles O’Brien. Bewitched is a multiple stakes winner in her native Ireland, mostly at the listed and group III-level. In her only previous attempts in group I company she disappointed, finishing out of the money in both the Golden Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) and the Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I). She got back to her winning ways in her last start, taking the Renaissance Stakes (Ire-III) by three-quarters of a length.
The field is rounded out by Dever Dream, Surfrider, and Flash Dance.
$407,904 Qatar Prix de la Foret (Fr-I, Race 5, 9:30 a.m. EDT), 3yos & up, 7 furlongs (Turf)
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey, Trainer
1. Flash Dance (Ire), 125, M. Barzalona, F. Head
2. Goldikova (Ire), 125, O. Peslier, F. Head
3. Dever Dream (GB), 125, R. Hughes, W. Haggas
4. Bewitched (Ire), 125, J. Murtagh, C. O’Brien
5. Worthadd (Ire), 128, L. Dettori, V. Caruso
6. Dream Ahead (KY), 126, W. Buick, D. Simcock
7. Surfrider (Ire), 126, C.P. Lemaire, E. Libaud
8. Marchand d’Or (Fr), 128, D. Bonilla, M. Delzangles