08/24/2014 2:06PM

The Wow Signal scores in Group 1 Prix Morny


The Wow Signal beat Hootenanny by a half-length Sunday in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville, denying American trainer Wesley Ward his second straight victory in the prestigious French race for 2-year-olds.

The Wow Signal, scoring a first Group 1 win for English trainer John Quinn and ridden by Frankie Dettori, ran his career mark to 3 for 3. A length behind Hootenanny came the French filly Ervedya, who lost for the first time in four starts.

The Wow Signal debuted May 21 at Ayr and won a maiden race by nine lengths, a sharp score that attracted the attention of Sheikh Joann al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing, which purchased the colt by Starspangledbanner and for whom The Wow Signal won the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Coventry was contested on good ground, and the Deauville course Sunday was labeled very soft, though The Wow Signal’s winning time of 1:11.93 for the straight-course six furlongs suggests the horses did not labor too mightily.

Hootenanny, who had won the listed Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and who was looking to duplicate the Ward-trained No Nay Never’s win in the 2013 Morny, broke on top but quickly was challenged by Ride Like the Wind, who led by a narrow margin for the first half-mile.

The Wow Signal was third early but dropped to mid-pack after the first furlong before swinging wide to make his run with a little more than a quarter-mile left. He reached the leaders without much apparent effort and saw out the trip slightly better than Hootenanny, a son of Elusive Quality who was racing beyond five furlongs for the first time.

Ervedya appeared to have run a quarter-mile out but could not get to a hole between the top two with a furlong left and went evenly thereafter to finish a clear third.

Quinn suggested afterward The Wow Signal might return to France in the fall to contest the Jean-Luc Lagardere on the Prix de l’Arc d’Triomphe undercard.

** Dettori won a second Group 1 on the Deauville card when Ribbons, another English shipper, rallied from last of 11 to win the Prix Jean Romanet by two lengths over Princess Loulou. Secret Gesture finished third – giving England-based horses a sweep of the top three placings – while the favored Narniyn was fourth.

Ribbons, a 4-year-old filly trained by James Fanshawe, was making her group stakes debut, and while she beat a field that was soft for supposedly top-level competition, Ribbons ran well and might have found conditions that suit her. Making her first start outside England, Ribbons was racing as far as 10 furlongs for only the second time in her career while racing over a softer course than she’s ever tried before.

Whatever the motivating factors, Ribbons was much the best Sunday. Still last with about three furlongs left to run, she was wheeled widest by Dettori and blew past her competition, hitting the front in the final furlong to win going away under a hand ride. The time on very soft going was a slow 2:09.98.

Bred and owned by the Elite Racing Club, Ribbons is a daughter of the German-bred sire Manduro.