08/06/2010 12:49PM

Planet Five looks tough in Maurice de Gheest


The $330,000, Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest on Sunday is a wide-open affair over a straight 6 1/2 furlongs at Deauville. Among the 15 entries, there is no standout like Marchand d’Or, who won the race three times in a row from 2006 to 2008, but in Planet Five, trainer Pascal Bary may have the horse to beat.

By Storm Cat out of Breeders’ Cup Mile and Prix Jacques Le Marois winner Six Perfections, Planet Five stepped up to Group 2 company for the first time on June 6 and delivered a neck victory in the six-furlong, Group 2 Prix du Gros-Chene, beating Marchand d’Or into third place. He should be able to handle the step up in distance, as he has won twice going six furlongs at Chantilly, the only track at which he has won in nine career starts. Stephane Pasquier replaces the injured Christophe Lemaire in the saddle.

The 3-year-old filly Joanna will be running late. In her last two starts she came from well out of it to take the one-mile, Group 2 Prix de Sandringham and the seven-furlong, Group 3 Prix de la Porte Maillot. War Artist, winner of the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint on the Meydan Tapeta in February, returned to form with a win in the six-furlong, Group 3 Prix de Ris-Orangis at Maisons-Laffitte last time. Varenar has chased home Starspangledbanner in his last two outings, but must be a threat, given his victory over Goldikova in the seven-furlong, Group 1 Prix de la Foret in October. In Regal Parade, sprintmaster Dandy Nicholls has last year’s six-furlong, Group 1 Haydock Park Sprint Cup winner who was the recent the three-length winner of the six-furlong, Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury. The 6-year-old closer may just be good enough to pin back Planet Five.