Ancient Rome on the road again seeking Dollar delight

Charlie Hills’ Ancient Rome will bid for more success overseas in the Qatar Prix Dollar on the first day of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting at ParisLongchamp.

The War Front colt is familiar with the French turf having previously been trained by Andre Fabre before changing hands and stables earlier this season.

His first run in the silks of Fitri Hay was a one-length victory at 33-1 in the Chesterfield Cup at Goodwood in August, after which he returned to the country of his birth to contest the one-mile Mint Millions Stakes at Kentucky and prevail by half a length.

The latter run was a Grade Three event and his return to Paris is therefore a step up in level, but Hills expects him to relish the extended trip of a mile and two furlongs in the Group Two contest.

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“I think the trip is going to suit him really well,” he said.

Ancient Rome winning at Goodwood earlier in the season
Ancient Rome winning at Goodwood earlier in the season (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“He seemed to travel over to America really well and enjoyed it and he’s been great since he’s been back.

“He’s obviously got to step up to another level, I think, but he could well be up to it.”

There is further British interest in the race in William Knight’s Checkandchallenge and Paul and Oliver Cole’s Grand Prix de Deauville winner Jack Darcy.

Elsewhere on the card is the Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein, a one-mile Group Two that has attracted 10 runners, including Richard Hannon’s Witch Hunter.

The four-year-old has progressed from handicaps to this level in the space of a season, most recently winning the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury by a length.

Witch Hunter landing the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury
Witch Hunter landing the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“I’ve been delighted with him and he’s shown massive improvement all year,” Hannon said.

“I think he’s gone from being rated 80-odd to 115 and it was a very good performance last time at Newbury.

“The owners are very keen to take on a race out there and he is capable of showing up anywhere and running a massive race.

“In fact, the better the race, the better he seems to run. He’s been beaten in handicaps and Listed races, but he’s now won a Royal Ascot handicap and a Group Two.

“He’s been a great horse to have about. He’s a very talented horse.”

Also involved is Brian Meehan’s Isaac Shelby, winner of the Greenham on his seasonal debut and then consistently placed in Group races throughout the season – including a second-placed run over course and distance in the French Guineas.

Isaac Shelby (left) at Newmarket previously
Isaac Shelby (left) at Newmarket previously (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I’m really happy with him and he’s travelled over great,” commented Meehan.

“His best run of the year was probably over the distance and on that track. It will only be his sixth run of the year and we’re in good shape.

“I think he has run some superb races, he’s been really consistent and has never let us down.

“Possibly York didn’t suit him (fourth in the City of York), some horses don’t like it there. It’s a bit like Newmarket when he ran in the Dewhurst, some horses just don’t like those places.

“This is a nice place to come with him and he’s really well.”

The Group One Qatar Prix de Royallieu takes top billing, a staying event for fillies run over a mile and six furlongs.

Aidan O’Brien’s Library will step up in trip, a Galileo filly with experience at the grade as she was third in the Irish Oaks in July.

O’Brien said: “We’ll run Library in the fillies’ race on Saturday, she was a filly who was third in the Oaks so we’re hoping she’ll run well.

“This is stepping up in trip again for her, we think that’ll suit her and the better the ground, the better it’ll suit her.”

Library will cross paths with Shamida, an Aga Khan-owned filly who was a half-length winner of the Curragh’s Irish St Leger Trial when last seen, prior to which she took the Group Three Stanerra Stakes at Leopardstown over the same one-mile six-furlong distance.

Trained by Dermot Weld, she will encounter the same trip in France and will be ridden as usual by Chris Hayes.

There is extensive British representation in the race, with William Haggas’ Sea Silk Road, the Coles’ Sumo Sam, John and Thady Gosden’s Mimikyu and Karl Burke’s Poptronic set to run.

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