Richard Fahey ready for the real Perfect Power to show up in sprint thriller | Horse Racing News

Alan Crowhurst

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Christophe Soumillon has been one of Perfect Power’s biggest fans since teaming up in last season’s Prix Morny

Alan Crowhurst

By Scott Burton, France correspondent

Sunday: 2.55 Deauville
ARC Prix Maurice de Gheest (Group 1) 3yo+ | 6½f | SKY

Evidence of where the balance of power lies between the top three-year-old sprinters and their more experienced elders is still fairly scant.

But to judge by the market for this Group 1 sprint, the racing jury has already returned its verdict.

Platinum Jubilee Stakes hero Naval Crown heads most lists and Artorius, the horse who has rattled home to fill a place behind him at Ascot, then when he finished second in the July Cup, his main market rival.

Perfect Power surely ran below his best when plugging on for seventh at Newmarket, and there may be a case for recalling one of the many maxims favored by French training legend Maurice Zilber – “losing form is no form at all”.

Of Perfect Power’s fancied classmates in the July Cup from the three-year-old promotion, Cadamosto reared in the stalls while a low draw may have compromised the chances of Flaming Rib and Twilight Jet.

None of which is to say the older horses may not continue to hold sway as the season progresses.

There has to be a chance that having perhaps been too keen to embrace the newcomers, the conventional wisdom will now surge too much towards the contrary view.

Perfect Power has at least shown a liking for Deauville’s fast and flat straight, coming from an unpromising position to run down his rivals in the Prix Morny last August.

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Richard Fahey and Christophe Soumillon in conversation after the Commonwealth Cup success of Perfect Power

Richard Fahey and Christophe Soumillon in conversation after the Commonwealth Cup success of Perfect Power

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

Richard Fahey also has an excellent record in this corner of Normandy, having previously made off with the Prix Jacques le Marois with Ribchester, as well as the 2014 Maurice de Gheest with Garswood.

Harry Three will also carry the torch for the three-year-olds and, although the form of his win here in the Prix Kistena might not be the strongest in the line-up, he could not have been more impressive.

For the home team, Accakaba should be suited by the slight drop back in trip and didn’t look out of place on her only start at Group 1 level last year.

It’s easy to get caught up with how much difference the extra 100 meters makes when compared with form over a dead six furlongs but even if an extra grain of stamina does come into play, Naval Crown is still going to be hard to peg back if getting the run on his rivals.

Artorius has run twice in Britain as if stretching out to seven furlongs would be an advantage and, along with the extra distance, he may be another who finds a flat track reminds him much more of home.


Appleby: Naval Crown ‘looks the one to beat’

On the form of two Group 1 runs at Ascot and Newmarket which yielded a win and a second, Naval Crown is the rightful favourite.

He was ridden prominently on both occasions by James Doyle, who maintains the partnership with William Buick in Saratoga for the weekend.

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Naval Crown is

Naval Crown is “the one to beat” according to trainer Charlie Appleby

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

“Naval Crown heads to Deauville in good shape on the back of his second in the July Cup,” said Charlie Appleby. “We know that conditions in France are there to suit; he loves quick ground and has run well over seven furlongs in the past.

Naval Crown has developed into a top sprinter this season but it should be remembered that he was fourth in Poetic Flare’s 2,000 Guineas, as well as a close-up second in the Jersey over seven furlongs.

Perfect Power proved himself the best of his generation as a two-year-old, landing the Group 1 Prix Morny/Middle Park double, and showed he maintains that superiority at three when annexing the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot.

His first attempt against older opposition was something of an anti-climax as he was never involved in the July Cup, a race in which a prominent position and a high draw both seemed a big advantage.

Richard Fahey said: “It was a strange race at Newmarket, he recovered very quickly after the race. I just feel like he didn’t perform on the day.

“It’s a hard track to come from off the pace and the race showed that. But he’s been in great form ever since and we’re very happy with him.”

Scott Burton

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Perfect Power and Christophe Soumillon after the Prix Morny last season

Perfect Power and Christophe Soumillon after the Prix Morny last season

Scott Burton

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