Godolphin’s Thunder Snow, who has been enjoying a productive summer in Europe since his bucking bronco display in the Kentucky Derby (G1), just missed as the 17-10 favorite in Sunday’s Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville.
Seeking his second straight major victory after a front-running coup in the July 9 Prix Jean Prat (G1), the Saeed bin Suroor trainee duplicated those tactics here. He appeared to be in control virtually the entire way down the straight mile, until the very final stages.
Another Godolphin runner, Inns of Court, loomed a serious threat on the far side. But between the two Godolphin combatants, Al Shaqab Racing’s Al Wukair suddenly hit his stride as they reached the wire. From looking like he’d finish third, Al Wukair forced his nose in front in the nick of time for jockey Frankie Dettori. Inns of Court edged Thunder Snow for runner-up honors in the three-way tussle.
Winning trainer Andre Fabre, who also sent out Inns of Court and fourth-placer Trais Fluors, tied the record for the most wins in the history of this prestigious mile race. According to Racing Post, Fabre now has seven Marois trophies, equaling the legendary Francois Boutin’s total. Two of Boutin’s seven came courtesy of Hall of Famer Miesque (1987-88), best known stateside for her romps in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Hollywood and the following year at Churchill Downs.
The top four finishers were all three-year-olds. The lone older horse in the line-up, Taareef, finished fifth of six. Bringing up the rear was Goldikova’s half-sister, Gold Luck.
Al Wukair and Thunder Snow are likely to get a rematch in the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) at Ascot on Champions Day, October 21.
Official photo finish courtesy of France Galop