04/07/2011 12:25PM

Strawbridge's filly takes 1000 Guineas prep


George Strawbridge will have himself a runner in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket after his Invincible Spirit filly Moonlight Cloud ran off to a handy two-length score in the Group 3, $114,000 Prix Imprudence at Maisons-Laffitte on Thursday.

Making her first start since finishing second as the favorite against colts in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Oct. 3, Moonlight Cloud led virtually throughout the straight seven furlongs, drawing clear with impunity under Davy Bonilla as the even-money favorite, Helleborin, emerged from the pack to be second, a length in front of Miss Fifty. Sent off as the 5.20-1 second choice in a field of 11, Moonlight Cloud was timed in 1:26.10 on good ground.

The winner of her first two starts at 2, the second of them over males in a seven-furlong Longchamp allowance, Moonlight Cloud will face Helleborine once again in the Newmarket Guineas. A daughter of Observatory, Helleborine is trained by Freddie’s sister Criquette Head-Maarek for Khalid Abdullah. The winner last fall of the one-mile, Group 3 Prix d’Aumale, she was making her first start in the Imprudence since Oct. 3, when she had finished second to Misty For Me in the one-mile, Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac.

Last year’s Imprudence third, the Head-Maarek-trained Special Duty, went on to finish a nose second in the 1000 Guineas but was placed first via the disqualification of Jacqueline Quest. In 2009, Strawbridge’s Rainbow Quest finished fifth in the 1000 Guineas as the 8-11 favorite.

◗ A brilliant ride from Olivier Peslier enabled Surfrider to take the Group 3, $114,000 Prix Djebel, a seven-furlong trial for any of the European 2000 Guineas. Toward the rear of the six-runner field early, Peslier angled Surfrider to the rail for a clear run to collar the pacesetting Havane Smoker about 50 yards from the line. The 6.10-1 winner, trained by Eric Libaud, was not hard pressed to win by a head while getting the seven furlongs in 1:26.90. Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, the 7-2 Havane Smoker took second by 1 1/2 lengths from his stablemate, the even money favorite, Redemptor.

Third last fall behind French Navy and Havane Smoker in the Group 3 Prix des Chenes, Surfrider will go next in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, or French 2000 Guineas, at Longchamp on May 15m when he could run into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner, Pluck.