**KNOW THE BEST HORSES IN TRAINING (BEFORE THEY RACE!)**
Sunday, 4 August 2013
Force to conquer Deauville !
will face 13 rivals as he bids for a Group One hat-trick in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville today.
Clive Cox is in confident mood "I'm very happy with him, he's been in excellent form since the July Cup. Obviously this is six and a half furlongs this time but we are pleased to move in that direction with him as he has won over seven in the Hungerford. I hope the ground continues to dry at Deauville. If the forecast is correct, the ground should suit him and I hope it will as that's why we're going there."
The main opposition is the Freddie Head-trained Moonlight Cloud who has won the race for the last two seasons and he comments "I'm very happy with her, she's very well. I would say she's as well as she's ever been. She has won this race twice before so I'm hoping she will win again this time too. Obviously Lethal Force looks a very good horse and I think he would be our main rival."
The field also includes the Tom Hogan-trained Gordon Lord Byron and Aidan O'Brien's Jersey Stakes victor Gale Force Ten.
Lethal Force is a tempting 5/2 second fav with a number of firms.
Over at Chester Ballista has a course record of 2-4 and he could be capable of adding to the tally today from stall 2 although not sure he is a 7/4 chance. He beat Masamah here over 5f at the May meeting from stall 3, making all to win by a length and he also managed to win from stall 14 last September over 6f so he clearly acts on the track.
Brian Meehan's Intibaah has been entered up all over the shop since his second behind Ninjago 95 days ago, Hasopop and Zanetto third and fourth. He could be capable of putting up a bold show but only having had 5 runs to date he may be short on experience for this turning track.
Hitchens was an unlucky third in this last season (drawn 7) as he stumbled on the bend when just about to take the lead and in the end was only beaten a neck and a head. He's drawn 5 this time but Graham Gibbons is riding and he hasn't won on him since 2010.
Khubala was 4th in the Wokingham and third beaten 1 3/4 lengths behind Tropics in the Sky Bet Dash at York last time out so he's definitely knocking on the door.
Soul is best off at the weights on ratings and Fallon is an interesting booking for Godolphin but it could all happen too quickly as he is drawn stall 12 and against this class of opposition it is hard to see him overcoming that.
Difficult race to fathom out and having just had a quick look at the rainfall radar there is some heavy rain moving up the country which could potentially hit Chester about race time and don't think it would take much to get the going back to soft. If that were the case then Soul could come right back into contention as that would be his favoured surface, together with Khubala, whilst Hitchens may be withdrawn.
All in all I would leave until later today before deciding were your money goes if backing at all.
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