Irish raiders fail to land big prizes on French soil

Joseph O’Brien’s Thundering Nights pick of the Irish with a third place at Deauville

Irish trained horses failed to hit the international Group 1 target on Sunday with Joseph O’Brien’s Thundering Nights doing best through a third in Deauville’s Darley Prix Jean Romanet.

The Pretty Polly winner filled the frame in the ten furlong fillies heat behind the shock 33-1 winner Grand Glory who edged out Audarya in a desperate finish.

Jessica Harrington’s Cayenne Pepper was fifth, in front of Willie McCreery’s Insinuendo.

Irish hopes were also dashed in Deauville’s big juvenile prize, the Prix Morny, where Perfect Power graduated to Group 1 glory.


Trained in Yorkshire by Richard Fahey, the Royal Ascot winner made up for an unlucky run at Goodwood previously with an authoritative success in the €350,000 highlight under jockey Christophe Soumillon.

The 3-1 winner got the better of local hope Trident with another English runner, Asymmetric, in third.

Gavin Cromwell’s Queen Mary heroine Quick Suzy travelled strongly in a prominent position for much of the race but ultimately faded. The Joseph O’Brien hope, Velocidad, failed to land a blow.

Fahey reported: “Christophe gave him a very confident ride. It got tight for two strides or so but he came through it which was great.

“It’s been a frustrating enough year but this is just what the doctor ordered. It’s why we do it and why we’re in the game.

“He’ll have a moth off now and go to the Middle Park. He’s quite a powerful two year old but he has a great mind. We’ve had no issues with him throughout.

“We’ll stick to six furlongs at the moment as we’ve no need to change but I’d say he has every chance of staying the mile next year. The dam’s side of his pedigree suggests he could. We’re quite happy with six for now though.”

Perfect Power was cut to 4-1 for next month’s Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

In California in the early hours of Sunday morning Jessica Harrington’s Soaring Sky was out of the money in the $300,000 Deal Mar Oaks.

The Irish hope beat only one home as the Grade 1 prize went to Going Global. The winner was formerly trained here by Michael Halford but has thrived in the US this year with five wins in six starts.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column