08/07/2006 12:00AM

Marchand d'Or victorious


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 a generous 13-1, Marchand d'Or, a French-bred son of Marchand de Sable, defeated the 5-2 choice Satri by two lengths. He ran the straight 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.90 on good ground under Davy Bonilla, giving Freddie Head his first Group 1 victory in nine years as a trainer.

Head, who won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe four times during his career as a rider, will aim Marchand d'Or at the seven-furlong Group 1 Prix de la Foret on Sept. 30 at Longchamp. Marchand d'Or has already won two Group 3 stakes at Longchamp over the distance of the Foret, the Prix de la Port Maillot and the Prix du Pin.

Trainer 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 a 4-year-old filly, Freedonia. At 9-1, she prevailed by two lengths over the 5-2 favorite, Montare.

Freedonia may go next in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, the traditional Arc prep for 3- and 4-year-old fillies on Sept. 10.