‘Exciting’ Vadeni expected to be suited by Eclipse challenge

Jean-Claude Rouget has never had a runner at Sandown Park, yet hopes Vadeni can give him a 100 per cent record at the Esher track and become the first French-trained winner of the Coral-Eclipse since Javelot in 1960.

The select field of six is headed by Vadeni, who took his rivals apart in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly at the start of June with a blistering burst of acceleration.

It was a marked step up for the Churchill colt from a cosy prep in a Group Three contest at the same track and he is seeking continue his upward curve in what looks a particularly strong renewal.

“He is in good form. It will be a big test for him against older horses,” said Rouget.

Vadeni impressed in the French Derby
Vadeni impressed in the French Derby (Scoopdyga/France Galop)

“He surprised us at Chantilly with the manner in which he won – by five lengths. He showed a good turn of foot in the Prix du Jockey Club. We knew he had a change of gear. He was exciting to watch.”

Vadeni started his three-year-old campaign in April over a mile with a close-up fifth to stablemate Welwal in the Prix de Fountainebleau at Longchamp.

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“The Prix de Fountainebleau was very smooth and he was not fully fit – it was a run to get him ready for the Prix du Jockey Club,” added Rouget, who is under no illusions of the task facing the Aga Khan-owned runner.

“Saturday will be a tough race. It is a very strong race, and an interesting one, and perhaps the strongest for many years. We have not had a runner at Sandown before, but we think the stiff finish will help him.”

Christophe Soumillon with Jean-Claude Rouget after the victory of Alamanzor in the Irish Champion Stakes
Christophe Soumillon with Jean-Claude Rouget after the victory of Alamanzor in the Irish Champion Stakes (Niall Carson/PA)

Connections have stated that Vadeni’s optimum trip will likely be the mile and a quarter he faces at Sandown, and insist they have no concerns about the track, especially with the vastly experienced big-race jockey Christophe Soumillon continuing the partnership.

The Aga Khan’s racing manager Georges Rimaud said: “He’s a very well-balanced type of horse with a lovely action and doesn’t get disturbed by the type of the ground, whether it’s soft or fast.

“We hope that he’ll be able to handle Sandown. If he’s at that level, and I think he is, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue for him.

“The jockey knows him well, he knows the course and he’ll get on with that no problem. We’re expecting a good run from this horse.

“He’s a very, very easy horse with a fantastic temperament. He’s a colt and can be feisty enough, but they need to be that way.

“He has a strong character and like his turn of foot, he’s very decisive, but he has a very sweet personality in his box and is very easy to travel.”

Charlie Appleby with Native Trail after victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas
Charlie Appleby with Native Trail after victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (Brian Lawless/PA)

Next in the market is another Classic victor in Native Trail, the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner who would have come into this unbeaten had he not been touched off by stablemate Coroebus in the English equivalent.

Charlie Appleby says the son of Oasis Dream has the physical stature to compete with the older horses.

“It’s only a small field but we are happy with our draw in stall five,” he said on the Godolphin website.

“The question mark with Native Trail is the mile-and-a-quarter trip, but you can take a few pieces out of his pedigree which suggest he has a chance of staying. At the end of the day, in the Irish Guineas he was doing his best work in the last 200 yards, so we are confident within ourselves he can go the mile and a quarter.

“More importantly, he is a strong three-year-old who won’t look out of place against his elders. It’s a great race for three-year-olds with the weight allowance and he goes to Sandown in excellent order.

“Him receiving that weight allowance against those older horses is going to be a huge advantage, as we’re not dealing with an unfurnished three-year-old – he’s a fully-developed three-year-old.

“He’s a very fresh and well individual going into the Eclipse. We are very much looking forward to seeing how he stacks up and whether we keep to this distance or drop back to a mile for the rest of the season.”

Appleby is full of respect for the French raider, but equally has a line on his form after Modern Games finished third to Rouget’s charge at Chantilly.

“He (Vadeni) has gone and done it over a mile and quarter, and done it well. How would he have stacked up in the Guineas, and that’s where we have the aces in the form around the Guineas horses,” said the Moulton Paddocks handler.

“Going into it, they’ve got the confidence they’ve gone the mile-and-a-quarter trip, but we’ve got the confidence we’ve got the best horse – the mile and a quarter is the big question mark.”

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