Trainer Freddie Head has frequently used pacemakers for the Wertheimers’ Goldikova throughout her career as a premier miler, and in the 2010 Group 1 Prix du Haras de Fresney-le-Buffard Jacques les Marois at Deuville over a mile she had two in Only Green and Saying. Below in the video, note they are 1-2-3 in the early going, with Goldikova third under the white cap and covered behind the other two in red and blue caps. The exciting 19-year-old Mikael Barzalona, who won the Epsom Derby this year on Andre Fabre’s French raider Pour Moi, rode Saying.
The Marois comes a fortnight after the same track’s all-filly Group 1 Prix Rothschild—which Goldikova won for the fourth consecutive year Sunday—and was run under very soft conditions last year that favored the winner, Makfi, and hampered the mare. There’s been some speculation on Twitter—and I don’t know if it’s warranted or not—that if conditions are similar she could bypass the race and eventually meet Frankel in the Group 1 QIPCO Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October, though she could also prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp, a seven-furlong race in early October that she won last year, or the same track’s Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp at a mile in September, another race she’s won in the past.
Wherever she goes, she’ll likely have the services of her latest—and best—pacemaker, the filly Flash Dance, who has been ridden in each of her 2011 pacemaking assignments by Barzalona. Below is the video of the Rothschild. Barzalona, under the blue cap, is on the blaze-faced Flash Dance and does a superb job for Olivier Peslier on Goldikova; he tows Goldikova, picks up the pace after making sure she’s in position, gives her the target, and then eases away to give Peslier and Goldikova a seam to run through.
One race earlier, in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at a mile at Royal Ascot, Barzalona and Flash Dance were challenged early by last year’s Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco, who Jamie Spencer appeared to ride as a pacemaker for Canford Cliffs (both with Coolmore co-ownership). Undeterred, Barzalona and the filly eventually took over after pressing Cape Blanco and did their job but Canford Cliffs nailed Goldikova close to home. It was subsequently revealed that Peslier had ridden the mare two pounds overweight. Cape Blanco, who was under new co-owner Fitri Hays’s colors in the Queen Anne where he beat only Flash Dance, came back next out in Derrick Smith’s silks to win the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont over a mile and three-eighths, a distance that suited him better than a mile but one that underscored the quality of the Queen Anne.
Goldikova made her season debut May 22 in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp over a mile and a furlong, again with Flash Dance and Barzalona as partners. Note here that Flash Dance actually finished fourth against a high-quality field that included Canford Cliffs’s stablemate and Group 1 winner Dick Turpin, ninth and last.
Flash Dance is a five-year-old mare by Zamindar that was acquired by the Wertheimers after her last start in 2010 for trainer H.A. Pantall, for whom she won a Listed race in Germany. A winner of two of 19 starts with £100,322 in earnings and several stakes placings, Flash Dance has enough pedigree and race record to go to stud, and she has a connection to Freddie Head: Flash Dance’s third dam is Group 1 winner Riverqueen, who was bred by Freddie Head’s father, Alec Head, in partnership with Roland de Chambure (as Societe Aland), and raced by Freddie Head’s mother. The second dam also was bred by the same connections.