Space Blues and Munitions renew rivalry at Maurice de Gheest - GulfToday

Space Blues and Munitions renew rivalry at Maurice de Gheest


Four-year-old Ice Storm is set to make G3 debut in the Kokura Kinen.

Space Blues and Munitions face each other for a second time at Deauville, France, in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest over six and a half furlongs on Sunday.

The three-year-old colts first met in the G1 Prix Jean Prat over seven furlongs at the Normandy course on July 7, when Space Blues finished a clear second behind Too Darn Hot and Munitions kept on to finish fourth.

Space Blues (Charlie Appleby/William Buick, drawn three) went down by a head in the seven-furlong G3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and the son of Dubawi captured a Listed race over the same distance at Epsom Downs earlier the same month.

Munitions (Andre Fabre/Mickael Barzalona, drawn nine), a son of War Front, failed to stay a mile on heavy ground in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp in May, but started this year with a game victory in the G3 Prix Djebel over seven furlongs at Maisons-Laffitte in April.

The 15 runners for the Prix Maurice de Gheest are headed by G1 Commonwealth Cup winner Advertise, last year’s victor Polydream and One Master, who took the G1 Prix de la Foret in October.

Charlie Appleby said: “Space Blues is dropping back another half-furlong, but we don’t see it as a negative as shows plenty of natural pace.

“He wasn’t disgraced when finishing second to Too Darn Hot in the Prix Jean Prat and has come out of the race in good order.

“He has put up some decent performances since we dropped him down in trip and I think we could see him as a proper sprinter later in his career. It’s a competitive race, but he is not going to look out of place.”

Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin commented: “Munitions has come out of the Prix Jean Prat in great form. We would be hopeful that he can pick up some prize money, but would be surprised to see him win.”

Sunday’s card at Deauville also includes the G3 Prix de Reux over an extended 12 furlongs, which features three Godolphin runners including Gyllen (Andre Fabre/Mickael Barzalona), winner of last year’s G2 Prix Eugene Adam over two furlongs shorter at Maisons-Laffitte.

The four-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro has made two appearances, both over 12 furlongs, this year and kept on in fifth on his latest outing in the G2 Grand Prix de Chantilly at the start of June.

He is joined by two Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-olds - Walton Street (William Buick) and First Nation (James Doyle), who have both captured handicaps on turf at Meydan, UAE.

Walton Street won over 12 furlongs at last year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival and came home second on his first European appearance of 2019 in a Newmarket Listed race over the same distance at the end of June.

First Nation started his year with an impressive 10-furlong success at Meydan in January and the son of Dubawi steps up in class and trip following three Listed runs over the same trip, most recently when coming home third at Newbury on July 20.

Lisa-Jane Graffard said: “We are keen to get Gyllen’s season back on track. Andre Fabre has been very patient with him this season and this is another fact-finding mission to see in which direction he is heading for the rest of the year.”

Charlie Appleby commented: “Walton Street ran a good race at Newmarket last time out and has come out of the race well. He is a consistent performer and should be very competitive over a trip that suits.

“First Nation has put up a couple of solid performances over shorter distances this season and we are hoping that the step back up in trip might suit him. A repeat performance of his recent Listed efforts should put him bang there.”

Godolphin is also represented in both Listed races for three-year-olds on the card, with Epic Hero (Andre Fabre/Mickael Barzalona, drawn one of the eight runners), runner-up to Persian King in the mile G3 Prix de Fontainebleau at Longchamp in April, lining up in the six-furlong Prix Moonlight Cloud.

Battle Of Toro (Andre Fabre/Mickael Barzalona) has finished second twice at Listed level in 2019, including when chasing home subsequent G1 Prix du Jockey Club victor Sottsass in the 10-furlong Prix du Suresnes at Chantilly at the start of May.

The New Approach colt steps up significantly in distance for the eight-runner Prix Michel Houyvet over 14 furlongs.

Meanwhile,  Improving four-year-old Ice Storm goes for a third straight win on his G3 debut in the Kokura Kinen over a mile and a quarter at Kokura, Japan, on Sunday.

The Keiji Yoshimura-trained colt steps back up in trip following two comfortable Stakes victories over nine furlongs, with the son of Storming Home having taken the Chofu Tokubetsu at Tokyo in May and the Tarumi Stakes at Hanshin in June.


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