1Pt Win Karakontie @9/1, Prix Jacques Le Marios, Deauville 15:10

1Pt Win Karakontie @9/1, Prix Jacques Le Marios, Deauville 15:10

Another Sunday, another Group One at Deauville. This time it’s the turn of the milers in the Prix Jacque Le Marois – a race won in recent years by the mighty Goldikova, Moonlight Cloud and Kingman.

The rain may have redirected dual-Guineas winner Gleneagles to York, but a classy field of Group One winners has assembled. At the time of writing, the going remains soft and ten remain.

Andre Fabre’s Guineas second Territories heads the market at 2/1, after getting off the mark at top level with an authoritative win in the Prix Jean Prat. We’re in no hurry to oppose him, but at that price there are enough holes in his claims to bring some others into the mix. A glance at the form suggests a preference for a sounder surface, losing his maiden on his sole run on good to soft, and putting in such a strong performance on a quick Newmarket mile.

The five-year-old filly Esoterique would make a lot of appeal had her excellent second to Muhaarar not been last week. Moonlight Cloud achieved the double a few years back, but she was a superior horse and only won that one in a photo. The 5/1 available doesn’t seem to have that factored in.

Next comes the admirable Toormore, who has run best on softer surfaces and recently broke his losing streak at Glorious Goodwood. He beat a very good horse into second that day, Dutch Connection, who followed up his Jersey win at Royal Ascot with an excellent half-length second to Territories in the Prix Jean Prat. That form line has the two closely matched, but the favoured soft ground could well tilt things Toormore’s way and, at 11/2, he appeals more at the prices.

Making his seasonal and first reappearance since winning the Group One Breeders’ Cup Mile, Karakontie trades at a generous 9/1. The four-year-old has only been beaten once when racing on slower than good – a neck defeat to Bunker in his two-year-old season – so there’s plenty to like. He’s only raced a mile once and that was his greatest triumph in Santa Anita, so everything about this race might be perfect. Of greatest concern is match fitness, especially on testing ground.

The form of Belardo received a timely boost this week with Kodi Bear’s romp at Salisbury – the two met as two-year-olds with Belardo coming out on top and Estidhkaar back in fourth. That was raced on soft so he certainly gets the surface, and his getting within two lengths of Gleneagles at The Curragh also reads well.

Estidhkaar’s run behind Muhaarar in the Greenham Stakes could hardly read any better, but he flopped when stepped up to a mile in the Guineas and is held by Belardo on the Dewhurst form. Soft ground might not play to his strengths, nor the trip.

Finally, Lightning Spear’s unbeaten run and sharp rise up the ratings was halted by an in-form Arod on his last start. That was quick ground, and he does boast a win on good to soft so conditions may bring out some improvement. I’d not fancy him in a match with Territories, though, and Arod finished behind Toormore in the Lockinge so he has plenty to find with these.

Toormore and Territories both look fair prices and have outstanding chances, but it’s Karakontie who looks overpriced with everything in his favour to take this.

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