O’Brien avoided Frankel at Goodwood for today’s race

Today’s Prix Jacques Le Marois is a mouthwatering contest but will it provide Deauville delight for O’Brien and his horse Excelebration?

For Crockford it is clear that many of the runners today deliberately avoided a head-to-head at Glorious Goodwood with the imperious Frankel and opted for what has become the best mile race so far this year.

Who could blame Excelebration connections after he has been soundly beaten by the wonder colt on five occasions in his career and by a combined 26 lengths already this season. Punters studying this race will certainly see that it will not be a straightforward matter for O’Brien’s runner as the field is replete with talent from the UK and France. John Gosden will be looking to swoop again on another big race prize and is well represented by his two fillies – the Coronation Stakes winner Fallen for You and the impressive Deauville course specialist Elusive Kate.

Crockford casts his eye over what is an impressive list of entries:

Cityscape – This comfortable Meydan winner found the 1m2f of the Eclipse too far for him in his last outing. The trainer Roger Charlton told the Racing Post he “is hopeful rather than confident” and that should reflect the view of any of his backers today.
Excelebration – Without Frankel on the scene this should be the opportunity for him to shine. Excellent throughout last season and this, he has improved for his move to O’Brien. This afternoon he should show that and add to his Gladness Stakes win.
Tin Horse – Winner at Maisons-Laffitte last time he should be outclassed by rivals today.
Indomito – This German raider ran creditably behind Frankel and Excelebration at Royal Ascot but will be further behind today.
Golden Lilac – Her May win of a Group 1 at Longchamp against Cirrus Des Aigles left her heavily touted for future success. She flopped next time out in the Falmouth and was comfortably beaten last month in the Prix Rothschild at the course by Elusive Kate. Nothing suggests she will turn that round today.
Immortal Verse – Winner of this race last year beating the mighty Goldikova having also won the Coronation Stakes that year, her first race this year was disappointing finishing last of five behind other rivals today.
Moonlight Cloud – Almost took Black Caviar’s unbeaten record away from her at Royal Ascot and has won impressively since in the Prix Maurice de Gheest last weekend. This race may come to quick for her with the extra distance proving too far – strong contender though not to be written off.
Most Improved – Lived up to his name in the St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot after a muddling run in the Prix du Jockey Club on his seasonal debut. Crockford feels he could still be open to more improvement and could be a threat.
Caspar Netscher – Winner of the German 2000 Guineas and the Greenham will be outclassed here today by his rivals.
Fallen for You – Good winner of the Coronation Stakes when Gosden really started to show his continuing purple patch of form. The second in that race has disappointed since and Crockford does not think this his strongest chance in the race.
Elusive Kate – Finished second on a seasonal reappearance in a good Falmouth Stakes and followed up with an excellent win at Deauville. This filly has won three times at the course and won the Marcel Bussac as a juvenile. She is a massive threat to Excelebration  and a big price at 10/1 for each way backers.

Crockford’s prediction:

1 Excelebration
2 Elusive Kate
3 Moonlight Cloud

(Photograph – O’Brien looking over the card and walking the course at Glorious Goodwood by Stuart Rice)