Menuisier delighted to secure services of Peslier for Wonderful Tonight

David Menuisier is confident he has recruited the perfect Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe jockey in Olivier Peslier for his big-race hope Wonderful Tonight.

Menuisier announced on Tuesday afternoon that four-time Arc winner Peslier will replace William Buick – who is highly likely to be required for Adayar or Hurricane Lane – on his dual Group One heroine.

The Sussex-based trainer also confirmed that “in an ideal world” he hopes his fellow Frenchman will be able to ride Wonderful Tonight in the two races he will schedule before her big date at ParisLongchamp in October.

The first of those may well be in the Yorkshire Oaks this month – although Wonderful Tonight already has several other options in France and Ireland in August and September.

Menuisier said of former French champion jockey Peslier: “I think he is one of the best in the business.

“He has the experience on his side, and he’s ridden the filly as a two-year-old when he won on her at Saint-Cloud.

“The plan was to keep him on last year. But I think it was a fracture of the jaw that sidelined him, so when she went to Longchamp (initially for the Prix de Thiberville last July) I had to use somebody else.

“Tony Piccone rode her – and because he rode her well, we kept the continuity.

“But Tony Piccone has gone to Hong Kong, and won’t be back until October – and we felt it would be better to use somebody who, first of all, won the Arc several times.

“He’s also ridden (in France) all year, and knows Longchamp like the back of his hand.”

Olivier Peslier (left) is to take the big-race ride on Wonderful Tonight
Olivier Peslier (left) is to take the big-race ride on Wonderful Tonight (John Walton/PA)

It was obvious, after Wonderful Tonight rubber-stamped her Arc credentials with victory in Saturday’s Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood, that she would need a new jockey for the Arc, where Godolphin number one Buick will be needed by his retained owners.

Menuisier had no hesitation in contacting Peslier.

He said: “I’ve known Oliver for 10 years. He’s a friend, and I trust him 110 per cent to do the job.

“Who wouldn’t be keen (to ride Wonderful Tonight)? She has a live chance – well, we feel she’s a live chance, in the Arc.

“Obviously he’s delighted to have been called up.”

The Group One Yorkshire Oaks may well be the four-year-old’s next race, on August 19, and the hope is that Peslier will be able to ride her from then on.

“It’s part of the plan,” added Menuisier.

“He’s made himself available to ride the filly wherever she goes.

“Thinking of the big one down the line, I think it would be good if he could have sat on her at least once and, in an ideal world, twice before the Arc.”

Wonderful Tonight’s interim targets are still being fine-tuned.

“We need to play it by ear, but we hope she will run in August and September,” said Menuisier.

“I’m thinking of York. I’m (also) thinking of the Prix Romanet, which I think closes tomorrow. The Romanet and the (Prix de) Pomone are both run on the same day at Deauville (August 22).

“She’ll go where we think the ground is best and where we think the races are most winnable without over-exerting ourselves – which is what we did in the Lillie Langtry.

“I don’t want the filly to have too many hard battles before the big day – so she’ll get to the race as fresh as she can, knowing that we’re not having a summer break.”

Wonderful Tonight has existing entries already in the Irish St Leger and Irish Champion Stakes next month, and Menuisier added: “I’m not writing anything off.

“In September, she is entered at the Curragh, and she’s entered at Leopardstown.

“The Curragh option is probably unlikely, the Irish Leger, after the Lillie Langtry – because (Buick) felt that the stamina was stretched.

“But the Leopardstown option is a possible one, then the (Prix) Vermeille obviously – and one race you can’t write off is the (Prix) Foy, because there’s a chance the colts’ and geldings’ (older) division could be much weaker than the fillies’ division this year.”

Laws Of Indices rules for Ken Condon in Prix Jean Prat

Ken Condon’s Laws Of Indices was a hugely-determined winner of the Group One Haras d’Etreham Prix Jean Prat at Deauville.

Olivier Peslier had Laws Of Indices prominent throughout in the centre of the course and then held off a series of challengers on all sides in the final two furlongs to win at 28-1, leading home an Irish one-two by a head from Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Moon.

For County Kildare trainer Condon, this was a third Group One victory – following Romanised’s successes in the 2018 Irish 2,000 Guineas and 2019 Jacques le Marois at this course.

Laws Of Indices had to be very tough, stepping back up in trip and winning for the first time since springing an even bigger surprise in the Group Two Railway Stakes at the Curragh 12 months ago.

He proved himself again, though, to see off Thunder Moon – with Andre Fabre’s joint-favourite Midtown another length and a half back in third.

Condon was delighted that the ambitious plan had paid off, with a horse he knew was still improving.

“It’s just a dream result, fantastic,” he said.

“He got a super ride, an uncontested lead – and when he got there still travelling well, I knew he should be in the shake-up.

“I think he was headed, and he fought back at the end. So it’s brilliant.”

Laws Of Indices has established a handy knack, in his brief career to date, of confounding the odds against him.

Condon added: “These races – 28-1 – (but) the owners are ambitious, and were willing to have a go, not afraid to lose. Sometimes it works!

“I’m delighted the five owners were all of the same mind to have a go, and they’ve been rewarded.

“He’s a horse that’s kept improving, and this is huge for them.

“He was an eight-grand yearling – it’s a great story.

“I thought he’d been sold a few times, but it just never happened. Group Ones are so hard to come by.”

Laws Of Indices was winless in his previous six starts, but Condon had not lost belief in him.

“I knew when he ran so well in the Guineas trial (in fifth at Leopardstown in April) that he’d trained on,” said Condon.

“Under his Group Two penalty there – yes, Poetic Flare won it, but he showed up well.

“Then he ran well at Naas, and you’d forgive him Royal Ascot on very heavy ground.

“He was 66-1 when he won the Railway – he was fifth (in the Commonwealth Cup) but only had one behind him two (furlongs) down, well out of his ground on heavy, really deep ground and finished well.”

Further overseas trips are likely to be on the agenda for the son of Power – after a break to recover from this weekend’s travel and exertions.

“It’s the last three-year-old only of the year – you have to meet your elders now,” said Condon.

“The Haydock Sprint Cup is normally very soft ground, (and) I see him as a seven-furlong horse. I think that’s his optimum trip.

“So maybe the (Prix de la) Foret I’d say – you’d just hope that Longchamp at that time of year is not too deep. It can go either way, but I don’t think he wants extremes.

“With a horse like him you’d look at a Breeders’ Cup Mile as well, because you need pace there.”

Condon also paid tribute to Peslier, who had won the first of his many career Group Ones in this same race on Le Balafre back in 1993.

“One of the guys asked me beforehand, ‘what did you tell Olivier Peslier how to ride him’?” he said.

“I said ‘you don’t tell him what to do’. I knew we were in good hands, just leave it to him.”

Laws Of Indices’ victory was one of three on the card for British and Irish challengers.

Jessica Harrington’s Loch Lein also won the Listed Prix Armandine for Ireland – and at the same level, in the opening Prix Yacowlef, Monmouthshire trainer David Evans’ juvenile filly Choux was a neck winner in the Chris Kiely colours which have been so successful this season with dual Group and Royal Ascot-winning sprinter Rohaan.

Peslier to ride Stradivarius in Arc

Olivier Peslier is thrilled to have picked up the ride on Stradivarius in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The top stayer is on course to join fellow stable star Enable in Paris next Sunday, with the great mare bidding to become the first horse to claim a third victory in Europe’s premier middle-distance contest – under Frankie Dettori.

Having steered Stradivarius to win the Goodwood Cup on two occasions, Andrea Atzeni was due to be reunited with him.

However, he is expected to miss out because, under the current Covid-19 guidelines, he would have sit out the eight-day quarantine period on his return to Britain – and he is required to ride for retaining owner Sheik Mohammed Obaid at Newmarket the following week.

Olivier Peslier has been booked to partner Stradivarius
Olivier Peslier has been booked to partner Stradivarius (Steve Parsons/PA)

In his anticipated absence, Gosden has turned to veteran French jockey Peslier, who won the Arc three years running in the 1990s aboard Helissio, Peintre Celebre and Sagamix, before adding a fourth success aboard Solemia in 2012.

Peslier said: “It’s fantastic to pick up the ride – Stradivarius is a super horse.

“There are a lot of very good horses in the race, of course, but I think this week there is a lot of rain coming – and I don’t think it will be a problem for him.

“He is a stayer and a very famous horse.

“I have the experience and know the track well. I am very confident, and we need to fight for that (fifth Arc win).”

Triple Gold Cup hero Stradivarius is a general 14-1 shot for the Arc, with Aidan O’Brien’s Love the marginal favourite ahead of Enable.

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy has not given up hope, meanwhile, of making the trip to Paris – where his potential mounts include Telecaster in the Arc – without having to quarantine on his return.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori have been lobbying the BHA, and particularly Dr Jerry Hill, to get dispensation – like professional footballers – that if they passed a certain number of Covid tests leading up to next weekend, and after the weekend and they flew privately etcetera and came into contact with literally nobody, would it be possible not to participate in the quarantine?

“We don’t have a firm answer yet, but we’re certainly hopeful – and it would be fantastic if we were granted that privilege, because I feel like we wouldn’t be putting anybody at risk.”

Oisin Murphy could ride Telecaster in the Arc
Oisin Murphy could ride Telecaster in the Arc (Simon Cooper/PA)

A definitive response appears imminent, Murphy adding: “We’ll have a clearer picture tomorrow (Monday).

“I hope I’ll be part of it. There’s Deirdre (in the Prix de l’Opera) and Telecaster – I love Telecaster, but until we know, I can’t go to connections and say ‘I’d love to ride your horse’.

“I think we’ll know in the next day or two. We do (need to), because it’s unfair on connections if things are left up in the air.

“These are top races, and you want to be sorted and confirmed for certain horses.”