Palace Pier, Poetic Flare To Clash For Breeders’ Cup Mile Berth In Deauville Group 1

The John & Thady Gosden-trained Palace Pier (GB) looks for back-to-back wins in the Group 1 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville this Sunday. The winner of this race, which boasts five Group 1 winners, will earn an automatic starting position and fees paid into this year’s $2 million Grade 1 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 84 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.

Unbeaten in three starts this season, Palace Pier, a son of Kingman (GB) secured his place in the Grade 1 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile on June 15 when capturing the “Win and You’re In” Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

After bypassing the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes due to a blood disorder, the 4-year-old will face seven rivals in France, including Mrs. J. S. Bolger’s two-time Group 1 winner Poetic Flare (IRE).

Winner of the Group 1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes, Poetic Flare was last seen finishing second in the G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes on testing ground on July 28. Trainer Jim Bolger believes his 3-year-old colt will improve from that performance.

“It was the ground at Goodwood,” Bolger said. “The filly [Alcohol Free (IRE)] was very good but it was a sub-par run for him. It was very tacky ground that day. He is so much better on good ground. This horse has all the class in the world, he’s very quick, and any sort of a reasonably run race will suit him.”

Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Mrs. A.M. O’Brien’s Order of Australia (IRE), the defending G1 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile champion, has been entered by trainer Aidan O’Brien. The 4-year-old son of Australia (GB) finished fifth behind Poetic Flare in the G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes.

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The 4-year-old filly Alpine Star (IRE), owned and bred by the Niarchos Family, will seek to go one better than last year. Runner-up behind Palace Pier in 2020, one of three occasions the 2020 Group 1 Coronation Stakes heroine placed second in Group 1 company, Alpine Star returns to Deauville after finishing second in her seasonal debut in the listed British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Fillies’ Stakes.

“It’s a very good renewal of the race,” said her trainer, Jessica Harrington. “She’s in good form and a stronger filly this year. Hopefully, it will be the slow side of good. Shane Foley takes the ride and I hope she will run a big race.”

Andre Fabre has won the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois more than any other trainer in its history with seven victories. He has entered the Godolphin-owned Victor Ludorum (GB) and Midtown (GB).

Winner of the Group 1 Emirates Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) over course and distance in June 2020, this year Victor Ludorum bounced back from two defeats to win the Group 3 Prix Messidor at Chantilly last time out on July 18. He is joined by his lightly raced stablemate Midtown, a 3-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE) out of a Diktat (GB) mare First City (GB), who was last seen finishing a credible third in only his third start in the Group 1 Haras d’Etreham Prix Jean Prat.

Group 3 winner Ecrivain (FR), trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias, and British challenger Chindit (IRE), trained by Richard Hannon, complete the field.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois winner to start in the G1 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile, which will be run at a mile on the Del Mar turf course. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance of $40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 25 to receive the rewards.

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