Dutch Connection likely to take shot at Maurice de Gheest
Dutch Connection (white cap) won easily at Goodwood
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos) Dutch Connection to take shot at Group 1 glory By Scott Burton 9:47AM 7 AUG 2016
THE prospect of Dutch Connection running in the Group 1 LARC Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville this afternoon has increased markedly after trainer Charlie Hills said he is "happy enough" with the drying ground.
- Prix Maurice de Gheest card
Hills had previously expressed some reservations about the going but with the sun having dried out track conditions to an official description of good, the Lennox Stakes winner was flown over this morning and now looks set to take his chance.
"He has arrived and we are happy enough at this stage," said Hills. "I am just about to fly out and I'll have a look at the track when I get there."
Dutch Connection heads the betting at 9-2 in a field of 15, after the Mick Channon-trained Mobsta was declared a non-runner.
Drop in trip
Dutch Connection was in action at Goodwood just 12 days ago, when he ran out an impressive winner of the Lennox Stakes over Goodwood's speedy seven furlongs.
Not since his two-year-old maiden days has Dutch Connection raced over a trip shorter than seven furlongs but Hills feels that the unique 6½f distance of the Maurice de Gheest will not pose a problem.
"It looks a good opportunity and he has a good draw in stall one," the trainer said on Saturday. "He's got a good cruising speed and plenty of pace, while I can't see the trip inconveniencing him as you are only talking about 100 yards less."
Gordon Lord Byron is officially the only horse in the race to have won at the highest level but Gold-Fun is a Group 1 winner in all but name, having landed the final edition of the Chairman's Prize at Sha Tin before the race was elevated from Local Group 1 status to gain global recognition.
Gold-Fun was not beaten far in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last time and trainer Richard Gibson, who was based in Chantilly for 15 years before moving to Hong Kong in 2011, reports his charge to be in fine fettle.
"He did his last piece of work on Tuesday and I'm very happy with the way he's recovered from his race at Ascot," Gibson said about the 5-1 second favourite.