07/30/2010 12:22PM

Goldikova targets Rothschild three-peat


Goldikova takes the next step on her road to the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Sunday when she seeks a three-peat in the $392,000 Prix Rothschild, a one-mile Group 1 for fillies and mares run over the Deauville straight course.

Imperious when defeating Byword in a record-setting performance in the 1 1/8-mile, 55-yard Prix d’Ispahan in her seasonal debut on May 23, the Freddy Head-trained daughter of Anabaa was at least as impressive at Royal Ascot when beating Paco Boy in the one-mile Queen Anne Stakes. Straight courses are right up her alley as she has won Group 1 miles over them five times, three of those coming at Deauville.

“She could not be better,” Head said after her latest work Monday on the Chantilly gallops at Les Reservoirs.

If that is the case, she and her rider Olivier Peslier will be death and taxes in the Rothschild, which until 2008 was known as the Prix d’Astarte. While Goldikova will be part of a three-prong Wertheimer & Frere entry with Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint fifth Only Green and listed Prix Amandine winner Evaporation, any hope for an upset is probably shipping in from England.

The Michael Channon-trained Music Show arrives from a July 7 victory in the one-mile, Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, where she beat English and French 1000 Guineas winner Special Duty into seventh. Connections have high hopes for the 3-year-old daughter of Noverre, who carries seven fewer pounds than Goldikova with Richard Hughes at the controls. The Falmouth was won last year by Goldikova and the runner-up that day, Elusive Wave, also challenges Sunday. The 2009 French 1000 Guineas winner is not quite what she once was, however, as she is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Group 3 Prix Messidor, albeit against males.

A second British raider, Rainfall, looked sharp beating colts in the seven-furlong, Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, and while she was just third in Music Show’s Falmouth Stakes, that was only the Mark Johnston-trained filly’s fourth career start. Improvement is expected with Kieren Fallon riding.

Possessed of extraordinary acceleration, Goldikova is the type of horse who can extricate herself out of almost any kind of trouble as she showed in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile when forced to check and start again in midstretch. Her tentative program for the remainder of the year, prior to a tilt at an unprecedented third straight Breeders’ Cup Mile title, will take in a attempted repeat victory in the Prix Jacques le Marois over the Rothschild course and distance on Aug. 15, followed by a run in the seven-furlong Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Arc Day, Oct. 3, when she will seek to erase the memories of her third-place finish in last year’s renewal.