Jaques le Marois review:Al Wukair and Frankie Dettori land thrilling victoryPublished August 14, 2017
Al Wukair – 10-1 QE11 Stakes Ascot with William Hill
Beckford – 25-1 Qipco 2000 Guineas with Ladbrokes
It is unlikely we will see a closer finish to a European Group 1 race this season than that of Deauville’s Prix Jacques Le Marois on Sunday afternoon which resulted in a bob of heads approaching the winning post, with the Frankie Dettori-ridden Al Wukair getting the better of a three-way photo over the Godolphin-owned pair of Inns Of Court and Thunder Snow.
Setting out to make all of the running Thunder Snow and Christophe Soumillon looked to have the race won going into the final furlong of the one mile contest until the white cap of Fabre’s unconsidered ‘ third-string’ and mount of Mickael Barzalona Inns Of Court challenged on his outside with Al Wukair looking held in between the two. Dettori is not regarded as one of the world’s greatest jockeys for nothing however and put his mount’s nose in front just where it matters for a most unlikely victory.
As short as 5-4 earlier in the week the Qipco 2000 Guineas third was allowed to go off at a generous 4-1 on the Pari-Mutuel with the third horse returned the 17-10 market leader. The well fancied Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Taareef pulled far too hard in the early stages, coming home a well beaten fifth of the six starters.
Expressing himself ‘ delighted ‘ with Al Wukair’s game performance, the record-breaking handler suggested a trip to Ascot could be next on the agenda for the son of Dream Ahead, saying: “ I think the QE11 at Ascot will be next for him. We have the option to go a bit further, but let’s see what the owner says. He’s in the Champion Stakes, he could go for the Irish Champion Stakes but I think it come a bit soon so of the two I would prefer the Champion Stakes ( Ascot ). He had a setback and twisted an ankle, but I’ve always believed in him.”
Bookmaker reaction was to cut Al Wukair into a top price 10-1 for Ascot’s QE11 on Saturday 21st October, a price which could prove good each-way value in two months time.
The main event at the Curragh on Sunday afternoon, the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes went to the Ballydoyle main hope Sioux Nation but it was runner-up Beckford who looked the more promising colt when stepping up in trip and is overpriced at 25-1 for next year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas.