10/01/2010 11:59AM

Goldikova to sit out Foret if ground is too soft

Racing Post
Goldikova (right) defeats Paco Boy in the Queen Anne.

PARIS – All American eyes will be on Goldikova in the $313,000 Prix de la Foret, one of six Group 1 races on the Arc undercard at Longchamp on Sunday. But her trainer, Freddy Head, has warned that if the ground becomes too soft as a result of the rain expected to fall on Friday night and Saturday on a course already deemed soft, he will have no choice but to withdraw his 5-year-old mare and send her instead directly to Churchill Downs in search of her third Breeder’s Cup Mile crown.

The last two times Goldikova ran on soft ground, she was beaten, most recently when she ran second to Makfi in the Prix Jacques Le Marois on Aug. 15, but also last year when she was seventh in the Prix d’Ispahan. She was only third in last year’s seven-furlong Foret when she was sent to the front very early.

Head has said he will instruct Olivier Peslier to use waiting tactics on Sunday from her number 1 draw in a field of 10.

The threats to her chances of winning an 11th Group or Grade 1 title are numerous. Paco Boy was just a neck behind her in second in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, but he was only fourth in the Jacques Le Marois and is unproven on soft ground. Paco Boy’s Richard Hannon-trained stablemate Dick Turpin was a soft-ground winner last year and took the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly in July. Siyouni has been close in three Group 1 miles this year on better ground, but may benefit most from the off going.

Also dangerous is the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained filly Joanna. The winner over the Foret course and distance against males of the Group 3 Prix de la Porte Maillot in July on soft ground, she has since proved her class with a sharp second in Deauville’s 6 1/2-furlong, Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest. Christophe Soumillon will use her tracking speed to advantage from post 5.

Stacelita will prep for her try in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in the $400,000, Prix de l’Opera at 1 1/4 miles. Owned by American Martin Schwartz and trained by Rouget, this French-bred daughter of the classy German stallion Monsun ran the defending Filly and Mare Turf champ, Midday, to 1 1/4 lengths when second two back in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Nassau Stakes and has since won a similarly condtioned race, the Prix Jean Romanet, by a head from her Godolphin-owned rival in the Opera, Antara. Stacelita won the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary last year by 6 lengths on soft ground, so the going will be no problem. Lily of the Valley will, however, test her to the limit.

Also trained by Rouget, Lily of the Valley is a 3-year-old daughter of Galileo who has won six straight, one of them on soft. She landed the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Prix de la Nonette last time and should handle the step up in class.

Freddy Head will saddle Goldikova’s Galileo half-sister, Galikova, in the $400,000 Prix Marcel Boussac at a mile for juvenile fillies. Galikova cruised to victory by 1 1/2 lengths in her maiden debut going a mile at Longchamp on good to soft ground and will be ridden by Peslier for the Wertheimer brothers.

But the seasoned Helleborine will be tough to beat off her soft-ground score in the Group 3 Prix d’Aumale for Criquette Head-Maarek. Mambia, an Aldebaran filly trained by ex-jockey Joel Boisnard, is 4 for 4 and sporting a win in Deauville’s Group 3 Prix du Calvados. Misty for Me, the winner of the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes for Aidan O’Brien, might find the going too testing.

Freddy Head has another hot propsect in the $433,000 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for 2-year-old colts going seven furlongs. That is George Strawbridge’s Moonlight Cloud, who made it 2 for 2 with a six-length win on soft ground over the Lagardere course and distance on Sept. 9. He will be tested by Group 3 Prix La Rochette winner My Name Is Bond, and by the Richard Hannon-trained King Torus, a two-time Group 2 winner in England who has never encountered soft ground before.

Total Gallery will defend his five-furlong, $333,000 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp title, but his chances look slim as he has not won a race since last October. The same can be said for the 2008 winner Marchand d’Or, so we will stick our neck out and pick Planet Five, a Pascal Bary-trained son of Storm Cat and Six Perfections who was a Group 3 winner earlier this year. It could happen, as most of this year’s European Group 1 sprint winners are bypassing the Abbaye.