08/11/2010 10:17AM

Fuisse Aging Like Fine Wine


Sunday's Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville is shaping up as a titanic duel between the two best older milers in the world. Goldikova and Paco Boy put on a show at Royal Ascot two months ago when the two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner staved off the late rush of the three-time British Group 1 winner to land the Queen Anne Stakes. A similarly scintillating experience can be expected on Sunday, but the two big horses must beware of Fuisse, a fast improving Criquette Head Maarek-trained son of Green Tune.

Named for the region that produces the fine French white wine Pouilly-Fuisse, Fuisse (pronounced foo-ees-say) finished second in last year's French Derby, after which an injury knocked him out action for the rest of the year. Following a pipe opener in a Maisons-Laffitte listed race on April 8 in which he finished third to subsequent Prince of Wales's Stakes winner Byword, Fuisse ran off three straight victories at a mile, efforts which have him on a head-on collision with an eventual Group 1 triumph.
Admittedly, those three wins came against considerably lesser than Goldikova or Paco Boy, but they were all notable performances. In the listed Prix de Montretout at Longchamp on May 6 he beat Dalghar by 3 lengths. Dalghar would next set a new Longchamp track record for 7 furlongs in winning the Group 3 Prix du Palais-Royal.

On June 13, Fuisse stepped up to Group 3 company to take Chantilly's always competitive Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord in which he had last year's French 1000 Guineas winner Elusive Wave back in fourth with Sweet Hearth, who had finished a half length in front of Goldikova when second in last fall's Prix de la Foret, coming home fifth.

Fuisse ran a personal best on July 17 at Maisons-Laffitte when he crushed the Group 3 Prix Messidor field by 4 lengths. That earned him a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 120. By comparison, Goldikova earned a 126 for her Queen Anne victory while Paco Boy's best RPR this year is 128 for the same race.
Obviously, Fuisse has some ground to make up if he is to win the Jacques Le Marois, but there are a number of indictors that say he will not be too long in achieving Group 1 laurels. The Prix Messidor, like the Queen Anne and the Jacques Le Marois a straight mile, has proven to be a springboard to bigger things in the past. In 2006 Librettist vaulted from his Messidor victory to win both the Jacques Le Marois and the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp three weeks later. Previous Messidor winners include the outstanding stallion Dansili, and Mill Native, who went straight from his Messidor score to win the 1988 Arlington Million at Woodbine.

None of this is to imply that Fuisse will get the best of Goldikova on Sunday, but he will have plenty of opportunities in the future to land bigger game, like the Prix du Moulin and the Queen Elizabeth II. He could also stretch out to 1 1/4 miles as evidenced by his good run in the 1 5/16-mile French Derby last year.