France: Qemah and Alice Springs renew rivalry at Deauville

Qemah (Grerory Benoist)

Qemah: beat Alice Springs in the Coronation Stakes

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

Preview: Deauville, Sunday

Prix Rothschild (Group 1) 1m, fillies and mares, 3yo+

CORONATION STAKES rivals Qemah and Alice Springs spearhead a powerful three-year-old challenge in one of the strongest editions of this race since it was granted Group 1 status in 2004.

Qemah came out on top at Royal Ascot but Alice Springs was forced to go the long way round after Ryan Moore found his route barred, before taking a while to get re-balanced and flying home for third.

Alice Springs banished those memories in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, however, where she clocked a new course record.

Alice Springs is a general 3-1 chance to gain revenge on her Royal Ascot conqueror, while Qemah just heads the betting at 5-2.

In good order

Qemah had pulled hard when finishing third in the Poule D’Essai des Pouliches on her final start before Ascot, leading to some speculation that she may not prove at her most effective on a straight track. However, trainer Jean-Claude Rouget does not think the Deauville straight mile will pose a problem.

“Qemah is very well and everything has gone fine since Ascot,” Rouget said. “She didn’t handle the straight here that well in the Pouliches, which is why we altered her programme afterwards.

“But I’m not so worried about that as I think it was the delay at the start that upset her more than the track.”

Other contenders

Group 1-winning juvenile Lumiere was a bitter disappointment on her seasonal reappearance in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, trailing home last of all, but she bounced back in stunning style when dropped to Listed company at the July meeting, storming clear of her rivals to win by six lengths.

Lumiere is trained by Mark Johnston, who said: “The track should be ideal and I’m hopeful she’ll get good, fast ground. I know the ground there tends to be heavily watered but we’re in for two nice days. I just hope she can reproduce her best form.”

Last year’s winner Amazing Maria returns to defend her crown, while the previous season’s victor Esoterique also takes her chance in a top-class renewal.

 

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