Prix Maurice de Gheest: Ed Walker reports July Cup hero Starman in 'flying form' for Deauville Group One

Starman takes on classy field of 12 in Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Racing; Ed Walker says July Cup hero could still be improving; Wesley Ward's Campanelle looks the main danger

Starman, ridden by Oisin Murphy, wins the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes
Image: Starman has won five of his six career starts including the Group One July Cup at Newmarket

Ed Walker believes July Cup hero Starman could be better than ever ahead of his bid for further Group One honours in France on Sunday.

The Dutch Art colt looked a top-class sprinter in the making after winning his first three career starts last season - and while he floundered in soft ground on Champions Day at Ascot, he made an impressive return in the Duke of York Stakes in May.

Testing conditions at the Royal meeting led to his withdrawal from the Diamond Jubilee, but he proved his Group One quality with a brilliant display on the July Course, and Walker could not have been happier with his stable star ahead of the Prix Maurice de Gheest, live on Sky Sports Racing.

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He said: "I can't wait, to be honest with you. I just wish it was scorching hot over there, but there's always something to worry about.

"He's in cracking form and we're super excited, so fingers crossed.

"Everything has gone very well since the July Cup. (Judged) on his last piece of work, I think he's improving, dare I say it. He's in flying form."

The biggest threat to Starman could be Wesley Ward's Campanelle.

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Image: Royal Ascot winner Campanelle will be ridden by Frankie Dettori

The American challenger won the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and the Prix Morny at Deauville last summer - and returns to France off the back of doubling her Ascot tally in the Commonwealth Cup.

"She's there and in good shape and Frankie (Dettori) is riding, so there are no worries," said Ward.

"I think there are a lot of showers around and that is going to suit Campanelle just fine. We're excited."

Rohaan is enjoying a fantastic season for trainer David Evans, with victory in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot his fourth of the campaign.

Shane Kelly rides Rohaan to victory in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot
Image: Shane Kelly rides Rohaan to victory in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot

He disappointed behind Starman in the July Cup, but Evans is anticipating a much-improved performance in France.

He said: "He's in good order and I'd just write off his run in the July Cup, to be honest. He's better than that.

"Everything was against him - he was probably on the wrong side, we probably made too much use of him, the ground was a bit quick and I don't think he likes that track.

"The trip, the track and the ground will suit him much better this weekend.

"It makes a change to be involved in these races - it's a lot easier training a good one than a bad one!"

Ralph Beckett's Lennox Stakes winner Kinross, the Archie Watson-trained Glen Shiel and Kevin Ryan's veteran sprinter Brando add further weight to the British challenge.

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Irish hopes are carried by Aidan O'Brien's Lope Y Fernandez, Ken Condon's Laws Of Indices and Joseph O'Brien's Thunder Moon.

The latter pair were split by just a head when first and second in the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville four weeks ago.

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