08/06/2006 11:00PM

Marchand d'Or upsets Prix Maurice de Gheest


Marchand d'Or strode to victory in the $321,000 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on Sunday to establish himself as the leading sprinter in France.

Sent off at 13-1, Marchand d'Or defeated 2.60-1 favorite Satri by two lengths and finished the straight 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.90 on good ground under Davy Bonilla. The win gave Freddy Head his first Group 1 victory in nine years as a trainer. Head, who won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe four times as a rider, will aim Marchand d'Or at the seven-furlong Group 1 Prix de la Foret on Sept. 30 at Longchamp, where Marchand d'Or has already won twice over the course and distance at the Group 3 level this season, in the Prix de la Port Maillot and the Prix du Pin.

John Hammond, who is preparing Team Valor's South African-bred mare Irridescence for the Oct. 1 Arc, scored a Group 2 win in the 1 9/16-mile Prix de Pomone with the Niarchos Family's 4-year-old filly Freedonia. A daughter of Selkirk, Freedonia prevailed by two lengths over 5-2 favorite Montare and may go next in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, the traditional Arc prep for 3- and 4-year-old fillies on Sept. 10.