Byline: Horse Power
IF quantity is the name of racing's game today, the onus will most definitely be on quality when attention switches to the coast of northern France tomorrow. While there are some competitive contests at Newbury, Newmarket and Ripon this afternoon, none can hold a candle to the race that will take place in Deauville 24 hours from now when the superstar mare Goldikova and top miler Paco Boy lock horns once again.
For Goldikova, the Prix Jacques La Marois presents her with a glorious opportunity to make history by becoming the first female to win an eleventh Group One race; unbeaten so far this year, she will be long odds-on to join racing's immortals.
But the stakes, in many ways, are just as high for Pace Boy and this tough, durable entire will be seeking to avenge a slightly unlucky defeat suffered at Goldikova's hands when the pair clashed in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Trainer Richard Hannon and jockey Richard Hughes both felt that had Paco Boy been able to start his challenge a fraction earlier, he might well have pegged back Goldikova on that occasion and the distance between the two at the line - a diminishing neck - adds credence to their argument.
Goldikova, however, gave the impression she always had matters in hand and was merely idling in the last furlong; her pilot Oliver Peslier kicked for home sooner than many expected and that move proved decisive.
Hughes and Hannon, inevitably, will want Paco Boy to sit a little closer to Goldikova than he did at Ascot but it is debatable as to whether their tactics will change the outcome; Goldikova, after all, is becoming a phenomenon.
Twice a winner of the Breeders Cup Mile, she has 100 per cent record this term - victories in the Prix d'Isphan and Prix Rothschild sandwiched the Queen Anne - and trainer Freddie Head will leave no stone unturned as Goldikova aims shine again. …