Freddy Head is eyeing Classic glory with the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing-owned filly Luminate who is unbeaten in three starts.
As always, his beautiful yard in Chantilly is filled with promising three-year-olds and Luminate is not the only one who could light up the sky over the Chantilly or the ParisLongchamp racecourses.
Polydream, who was only just beaten in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac last year, could go directly to the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, whilst With You, a sister of We Are, could make her seasonal reappearance in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary.
This year it’s the fillies who are bursting with potential, not just the three-year-old generation, but also the older ones, who could be making a trip across the Channel for Royal Ascot.
And whilst his season did not get off to the best start, things have definitely improved over the last few days.
“This winter we were continuously interrupted,” explains Head. “We had snow and frost and the horses sometimes could not even leave the yard. So they really needed their first run and will all come on from that.”
Here, Freddy Head guides Liz Price of attheraces.com through his team for 2018.
4-y-o ch f Sea The Stars – Es Que
A listed winner last season, she was constantly knocking on the door in Group 3 and Group 2 races. She was only beaten a short neck in the Group 2 Prix de Royalllieu and more was expected of her this season. However, on her first start in a listed at ParisLongchamp, in very heavy ground, she was well beaten. She was then aimed at the Group 3 Prix Allez France where she finished second to Kitesurf who was giving weight away.
“I was extremely disappointed with that last run. She didn’t run her race, because for me, we could not be beaten by Kitesurf who was carrying 2 kilos more than her. It’s impossible. She also finished far too close to the other fillies in that race although she is much better than them. I think my jockey held her back too much. She is one-paced and in the Prix Allez France there was no pace. I won’t say that she would have won, but she should have run better. She will now run in the Group 2 Prix Corrida, or maybe I will run her over 1 ½ m.”
4-y-o b f Soldier Hollow – Daytona
A listed winner in the provinces last year, she has already had three runs this season. She was last seen winning a listed race over 1 ¼ m at Toulouse.
“I would like to win a group with her. I might take her abroad, to Germany or to Italy. We have a series in France where you have to run in certain events, but I’m not sure if that is the way forward. She is Group-placed and it would be great to win one with her. She really won well the other day. She is not a champion, but she is very consistent.”
DAME DU ROI
4-y-o b f Dark Angel – Uruguay
A Group 3 winner at two, she only ran towards the backend of last season, which she finished off with a fourth place in the Group 1 seven furlongs Prix de la Foret at Chantilly. On her first start this season in a conditions race on the polytrack at Chantilly, she was an evens favourite, but only finished third.
“I have entered Dame du Roi in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Ascot. She is a very good filly. She didn’t run that well on her first start this season on the polytrack, but she was placed 4th in the Prix de la Foret. She won a group race at two, she is very good. She had plenty of problems last year and I couldn’t run her that much at the beginning of the year. I then ran her in the Rothschild and other races. I would like her to win a Group race. She likes good ground.”
4-y-o b c Dutch Art – Celebre Vadala
A brother of Group 1 winner Vadamos, last season he was campaigned over the mile and a quarter distance. He is listed placed but hasn’t quite managed the step up to Group level. This year, he was a winner on his first start over the mile but was never able to mount a challenge in the Group 2 Prix du Muguet at Saint-Cloud, where he finished more than six lengths behind Recoletos.
“Volfango has had numerous problems. He is without doubt a good horse, but will he win a Group race? I don’t know. I am not sure what his best trip is. He is the brother of Vadamos, who didn’t have that much stamina. And he needs good ground, there is no doubt about that.”
3-y-o b f Oasis Dream – Polygreen
A Group 3 winner as a two-year-old during the summer meeting at Deauville, she was the hot favourite of the mile Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly in October. And she would have won, if it hadn’t been for the Charlie Appleby trained Wild Illusion, who created a bit of shock when she won the event by a length and a half from the Wertheimer brothers owned Polydream.
“She is coming back nicely. She might go directly for the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches. I couldn’t run her earlier this season, because she had a couple of problems after the race at Chantilly. She got hurt in the race and I think she would have won the Boussac if she hadn’t been injured. She had surgery for a chip in her knee and she is coming back now. The Classic might be coming a bit too soon, but I think we will give it a try. She would like good ground. She is a very good filly. She wouldn’t want it further than the mile.”
3-y-o b f Dansili – In Clover
Unbeaten in two starts last season, she won both her races by several lengths. She won her maiden over a mile in heavy ground at Saint-Cloud and then literally walked away with the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs in soft ground at Deauville in October. She likes to dominate from the front. She is the sister of the filly We Are, a winner of the Prix de l’Opera Longines.
“She is a very good filly. Like all of my fillies, she took her time this year to come into her coat. We had a very bad winter. She is a good-looking filly who likes to gallop, so she likes to do things from the front. She is unbeaten and won her last start very easily. If everything goes right, she will make her seasonal reappearance in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary. A Group 1 race on her first start is not ideal, but she is capable of doing it. I don’t have a choice anyway. There is the Prix Cleopatre, but I think I will just run her straight in the Saint-Alary. I think she will stay.”
3-y-o b f Lawman – Kalandara
Unbeaten in three starts, she booked her ticket to the Prix de Diane Longines with a gutsy performance in the Group 3 Prix Penelope at Saint-Cloud on May 1st. A warm favourite after her Group 3 win as a two-year-old, she lost the lead at the beginning of the final straight but fought her way back to the front to win by half a length from Homerique.
“She is a good filly, a very good filly. She had an entry in the Oaks, but it comes a bit quick for her and her owners (Highclere Thoroughbred Racing) prefer the Prix de Diane Longines. She likes good, good to soft ground. She has a good stride and is very relaxed. She has lots of stamina. In the Prix Penelope, I was a little worried when Homerique went past us, but Olivier (Peslier) never loses his nerves and I really liked how she finished her race, which showed how much stamina she has. Before the Prix de Diane Longines she could run again in either the Prix Cleopatre, which I prefer, or the Prix Saint-Alary. She is still not as far advanced as I would like her, but she showed that the mile and half should be within her reach.”
3-y-o b f Lope De Vega – Calasetta
After an unassuming debut in October last year, she returned to the same racetrack at Maisons-Laffitte only three weeks later to win her maiden by 2 ½ lengths. This season, she was the runner-up in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte over a mile, where she took the lead within the final furlong, but was then pushed back by the Godolphin owned Musis Amica.
“She won at the end of last year and I was pleased with her seasonal reappearance in the Prix de la Grotte where she finished second. She will run in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches. She loves the heavy ground. In the Prix de la Grotte the ground was dead. She will like proper soft ground, in fact she will need it. She has a great character. She is very relaxed.”
HIGH DREAM MILENA
3-y-o b f Dabirsim – High Limits
High Dream Milena used to be trained by Criquette Head. As a two-year-old, she won her maiden against unraced fillies quite easily and was immediately stepped up to Group 2 company in the Prix Robert Papin, where she finished fourth behind Unfortunately. And it was once more Unfortunately who would go on to win the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville in August, where High Dream Milena finished fifth. Dropped back in class in October, she faded rapidly in the Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon to finish fifth once more. When Criquette Head retired, she moved to Freddy’s yard and made her debut for him in the Prix du Louvre, a conditions race for three-year-old fillies over the mile.
“I don’t know her that well. I can’t really tell you too much about her. When she ran the other day, I was a bit disappointed, but then the ground wasn’t great. She did win her race in good ground and currently the ground is still on the soft side. All these races at the beginning of the year, you have to give those horses the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure she is a listed winner, but if she is better than that, we will have to see. She won’t be running in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.”
3-y-o b f Dubawi – Buster’s Ready
A runner-up on her debut over a mile race for unraced horses at Saint-Cloud, she looked very green that day, but ran much better than the more fancied Wertheimer filly Zanibar, who is trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias.
“She didn’t win the other day. She works well though and I think she will improve with age. I put her in all the good races, but I don’t think she will be ready for them.”
3-y-o gr f Shamardal – High Maintenance
She never ran as a two-year-old but made her debut a winning one at Chantilly on the Polytrack. She was then stepped up to listed level in the Prix Finlande over 1m1f where she finished third, beaten half a length.
“She disappointed me a little the other day. She won so easily on her debut and I thought she would run better on her next start. But I think she has some excuses. The race didn’t pan out for her and she is still very inexperienced. She came up against horses who had much more experience than her. She is without doubt a nice filly. I think she can win a Group 3, but if she is good enough for more, I don’t know. I think she will like good ground.”
3-y-o b f Dansili – Albaraah
She ran twice as a two-year-old. She won a conditions race beating Soustraction, who then turned the tables on her in the Group 3 Prix d’Aumale over the mile at Chantilly. While she nearly made all on her debut, in the Group race she was placed at the backend of a small field of five runners and whilst Soustraction got the run on the rail, Efaadah was left with quite a bit to do.
“This is a filly who I really liked last year. She won her first race very easily, so she definitely has some qualities. I don’t think she is ready for the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, but I think she is a filly with a lot of ability who can win a group race.”
ROCK MY LOVE
3-y-o b f Holy Roman Emperor – Rondinay
Unbeaten in three starts as a two-year-old when she was trained in Germany by Markus Klug, she finished her two-year-old season with a victory in the Group 3 Preis der Winterkönigin, Germany’s most important two-year-old race for fillies. She then left Germany to join Freddy Head’s yard. On her first start for her new trainer she finished second last in the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux.
“She ran an absolute awful race for me. I really thought she was good, but she really ran badly, she didn’t finish her race at all. So I am starting at zero with her again. I really liked her and she worked really well for me in the morning. But when I ran her, she just wasn’t there. I have no idea what happened. I don’t know her well. I think I have to look after her nerves a bit. She had some tough races as a two-year-old and I think she remembers them. Also, the ground was very heavy that day. I would like to see her again. She is a big, good looking filly, but for the time being I don’t know what to do with her. She has a lot of speed in her pedigree.”
3-y-o b c Dansili – Neartica
He finished second to Study of Man on his debut in September last year and then won his maiden over 1m1f at Chantilly by three lengths. On his first start this season, he was beaten by Hishikari in a conditions race over 1m2f.
“He is a good horse, but if he is very good, I can’t say yet. He just needs to improve a bit in order to run with the good horses. There are not too many good colts around in France at the moment. So he should be in there. He is entered in all the good races like the Jockey Club and the Grand Prix de Paris. I think he will stay a mile and a quarter, if not more. I think he could stay the 1 ½ m. He has everything for him, he is very good looking. But he needs good ground.”