10/04/2013 12:11PM

Longchamp: Moonlight Cloud formidable in Prix de la Foret


Moonlight Cloud was eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita last year. This year, she is a different mare.

Moonlight Cloud is unbeaten in three starts this year, all in France, a winning streak that makes her a heavy favorite in Sunday’s $408,000 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris.

Owned by American George Strawbridge and trained by Freddy Head, Moonlight Cloud won the Group 3 Prix de la Porte Maillot at Longchamp in July. She won Group 1 races on consecutive Sundays at Deauville in August – the Prix Maurice de Gheest over 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 4 and the Prix Jacques le Marois over a mile a week later.

A 5-year-old mare by Invincible Spirit, Moonlight Cloud has won 11 of 18 starts.

In the Prix de la Foret, over seven furlongs, Moonlight Cloud is part of a field of 11 that includes 2012 Prix de la Foret winner Gordon Lord Byron, who won the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock, England, on Sept. 7, and the 3-year-old filly Viztoria, the winner of two group stakes this year.

The Group 1 Prix de la Foret is one of six Thoroughbred stakes on the undercard of Sunday’s Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Tasaday, third to Arc hopeful Treve in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille on Sept. 15, can win her first Group 1 in the $540,000 Prix de l’Opera for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Trained by Andre Fabre, Tasaday races for the Maktoum family’s Godolphin Racing.

The Prix de l’Opera drew a field of nine. Other contenders include Secret Gesture, third in the Yorkshire Oaks at York, England, in August behind The Fugue, and Gifted Girl, second in the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park in August.

The $476,000 Prix de l’Abbaye over a straightaway five furlongs will be the first start in France for Jwala, a 4-year-old filly who won the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in a 40-1 upset in August.

Trained by Robert Cowell, Jwala is part of a field of 20 that includes Sole Power, the winner of the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, and Reckless Abandon, who won four consecutive group stakes for 2-year-olds in 2012 but is winless in two starts this year.

The promising fillies Royalmania and Lesstalk in Paris, both winners at Chantilly on Sept. 10, make their Group 1 debut in the $408,000 Prix Marcel Boussac for 2-year-old fillies over a mile.

Trained by Head, Royalmania has yet to run in a stakes. She won a maiden race at Deauville in August and an allowance race at Chantilly. Lesstalk in Paris, trained by Jean Claude-Rouget, won the Group 3 Prix d’Aumale at Chantilly in her stakes debut.

Two other notable stakes winners in the Prix Marcel Boussac field are Wonderfully, a Group 3 stakes winner in Ireland in July, and Sandiva, who won the Group 3 Prix de Calvados at Deauville in France.

Outstrip, the winner of the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on Sept. 14, will be a strong favorite in the $408,000 Prix Jean Luc-Lagardere for 2-year-olds over a mile. Trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin, Outstrip has won 2 of 3 starts. Karakontie, who won the Group 3 Prix La Rochette at Longchamp on Sept. 8, will also merit support.

The longest race on the program is the Prix du Cadran over 2 1/2 miles, the only race that starts in front of the stands. A field of 10 is led by Les Beaufs, who won the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp in October 2012.