French exam for Search For A Song

Search For A Song has further Group One honours in her sights as she heads to ParisLongchamp next Sunday for the Prix Royal-Oak.

The five-year-old is a dual Irish St Leger victor and trainer Dermot Weld is eager to have a crack at the French version of the staying race, which is contested over just short of two miles in Paris.

The mare could finish only sixth when bidding for a third Irish Leger last month, but returned to winning form with a nine-and-a-half-length romp in the Loughbrown Stakes and after bypassing a couple of options on Champions Day at Ascot, Weld hopes the French going will suit.

He said: “Search For A Song will go for the Prix Royal Oak next Sunday at Longchamp.

“She’s won two Irish St Legers so let’s see if she can win a French St Leger. We did it before with Vinnie Roe who won four Irish St Legers.

“She’s in great form. She was very good the last day in the Curragh and we just hope they don’t get too much more rain in France.”

Ascot or ParisLongchamp choice for Princess Zoe

Tony Mullins will see how quickly Princess Zoe recovers from her exertions in the Prix du Cadran before deciding whether the six-year-old mare returns to ParisLongchamp or heads for Ascot.

The Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup comes up first at Ascot on October 16, with the Prix Royal-Oak at ParisLongchamp eight days later.

Mullins felt conditions did not suit Princess Zoe, who looked to have great chance of winning Saturday’s two-and-a-half mile Group One for the second year running when going as well as anything three furlongs out. However, she could only stay on at one pace and finished fifth to Trueshan.

“She came home a bit tired, but has freshened up nicely now,” said the Gowran-based trainer

“The ground was wet on top and quick under. I think that is why we failed to quicken. On Saturday, the rain hadn’t got into the ground. It was proper soft on Sunday.

“She was going well at the top of the straight, and I was making room for my trophy at that stage, but it didn’t work out that way.”

Princess Zoe will try again this month, but Mullins has yet to choose where.

“She’s in at Ascot and in the Prix Royal-Oak,” he added.

“She was fourth in that last year, but the winner was (subsequent Gold Cup hero) Subjectivist.

“We’ll have a look. I’m not sure – we’ve not been back long enough yet. If the turnaround looks OK we’re looking at Ascot; if not, we’ll go to the Prix Royal-Oak.

“We won’t make a decision just yet, but she will run somewhere.”

Arc hero set to return next year

Connections of Torquator Tasso have confirmed the shock Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero will return next season with a view to defending his crown in 12 months’ time.

The Marcel Weiss-trained four-year-old became only the third German challenger to win Europe’s premier middle-distance contest when causing an upset at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.

In the immediate aftermath there was talk of a potential trip to Japan, but the Adlerflug colt will now be given a well-earned break before being prepared for a 2022 campaign.

Julia Römich, a representative of Weiss’s stable, told Equidia: “The Marcel Weiss stable thanks everyone for this unforgettable day Sunday at Longchamp.

“Torquator Tasso will not run again this year. His owners have resisted the temptation to go to the Group One Japan Cup so that he can rest up for next year.

“The objective is to defend his title in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. As such, we will come back to Longchamp next year.”

Suesa all set for Abbaye showdown

Francois Rohaut considers Suesa to be the chief French challenger in the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.

The three-year-old was unbeaten on French turf until May, taking four races including the Prix Sigy and the Prix Texanita – both Group Three events.

Her unbeaten run was ended at Royal Ascot in June when she was eighth in the Commonwealth Cup, but she bounced back to take the Group Two King George Stakes at Goodwood in late July.

A run in the Nunthorpe Stakes then produced a fourth-placed finish as the filly was drawn wide and eventually came home two and a half lengths behind Winter Power.

“She looks great, she’s very happy and quiet and everything’s perfect,” Rohaut told Sky Sports Racing.

“She came out (of York) well, we’ll just forget that race as she had a bad draw.

“We’ll just forget it, she is as well as she was before Goodwood.

“I am very happy with her – she looks much better and much stronger, she is improving I think.

“She’s probably the best French contender, I don’t really focus on who is going to run and who will like the ground, she will run her best.”

The going at Longchamp is currently described as a mixture of good and good to soft and more rain is due to fall, but Rohaut is not concerned about conditions as his runner is a proven performer on heavier ground.

“She won three times on very soft going, so I’m not worried about the ground, if the rain does come it could be even better for her,” he said.

Suesa and jockey William Buick
Suesa and jockey William Buick (John Walton/PA)

Though this weekend’s race will be Suesa’s last of the season, Rohaut is already looking forward to beginning her next campaign at Royal Ascot in June.

“I think we’ll keep her next season and in that case her first target is probably the King’s Stand,” he said.

“She’s as good over both (five and six furlongs), she won’t stay six furlongs at Ascot because they’re going uphill, but on a flat track she can stay six furlongs.”

Suesa is one of 17 still in contention for the Abbaye, with British hopes including Sprint Cup winner Emaraaty Ana and Glass Slippers from Kevin Ryan’s yard, Tim Easterby’s Nunthorpe victor Winter Power, Karl Burke’s pair of Dandalla and Lady In France, plus the Adrian Nicholls-trained Mo Celita.

Adrian Nicholls' Prix de l'Abbaye hope Mo Celita
Adrian Nicholls’ Prix de l’Abbaye hope Mo Celita (Tim Goode/PA)

Andre Fabre’s Raclette – a filly he rates as one of the best he has trained – is among 10 contenders for the Prix Marcel Boussac.

Aidan O’Brien will be without a runner in the race after his entrant, Galileo filly History, was found to be lame and is therefore due to be withdrawn.

“The plan was that she would run, but she didn’t pull out 100 per cent sound so she won’t run,” the trainer said.

“I shouldn’t think we’ll have another runner in the race.”

Oscula, who finished third in last week’s Rockfel Stakes, has been left in both the Boussac and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere by trainer George Boughey.

She is one of three fillies in that seven-furlong heat which is headlined by Phoenix Stakes winner Ebro River for Hugo Palmer.

A total of 15 fillies and mares are in the mix for the Prix de l’Opera, including last year’s third Audarya for James Fanshawe and O’Brien’s French Oaks winner Joan Of Arc.

Space Blues is a short-priced favourite for the Prix de la Foret over seven furlongs with other familiar names including Kinross, Thunder Moon and Pearls Galore.

James Doyle booked to ride Trueshan in Cadran

James Doyle will take the mount on Trueshan in what could be an epic clash with Stradivarius in Saturday’s Qatar Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp.

Regular partner Hollie Doyle is unable to maintain their partnership as she is serving a riding ban, but Alan King and owners the Singula Partnership have ensured another Doyle will be in the saddle.

King told Sky Sports Racing: “James Doyle is going to ride. He’s ridden for the owners on some of their other horses and he’s had plenty of success for me over the years, so that was the decision the owners made and I’m delighted to have him on board.”

Trueshan has not run since winning the Goodwood Cup back in July, with quick ground scuppering planned outings in the Lonsdale Cup at York and the Doncaster Cup at the St Leger meeting.

Both of those races were won by the resurgent Stradivarius, the three-times Ascot Gold Cup victor who could finish only fourth in his bid for a fourth triumph at the Royal meeting in June.

Quick ground at Ascot meant Trueshan missed the Gold Cup, while testing conditions at Goodwood saw Stradivarius miss out, with the pair having only met once previously in last year’s British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Trueshan emerged victorious that day on deep ground, with Stradivarius beating just one rival on what was a quick return after finishing down the field in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

It appears the duo could finally cross swords again in France, subject to the weather, with King having plenty of respect for both Stradivarius and the trip of two and a half miles.

Connections with Trueshan at Goodwood
Connections with Trueshan at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

He said: “He seems very well. Everyone has been happy with his work for the last 10 days or so.

“The competition looks very strong, but this has been the target for some time so we will see what happens.

“The one slight concern I have is two and a half (miles) – he’s never been beyond two miles. If he happened to be very free, it’s going to take a lot of getting. I just hopes he switches off early and gives himself a chance to really see the trip out.

“The old boy (Stradivarius) looks right back to his best, he was very impressive at Doncaster. He had a tough race the time before and I would have thought the Doncaster run would have given them plenty of confidence again.

“I’ve great respect for him and one or two of the others in the field. It looks a proper Group One.”

Princess Zoe pleasing Mullins ahead of Cadran defence

Princess Zoe is reported to be in tip-top shape ahead of her bid to defend her crown in the Qatar Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp on Saturday.

Tony Mullins’ classy stayer came from a long way back to collar long-time leader Alkuin in the closing stages and land the stamina test by half a length 12 months ago.

The six-year-old was among 16 horses left in the Group One over two and a half miles at the confirmation stage.

“She’s on her way to France and is in good form. We’re just waiting to see what the opposition is now,” said County Kilkenny-based Mullins.

“Stradivarius and Trueshan are the main two and Skazino is the main French one, I’d say, with maybe former winner Call The Wind (2018) next. They are the main ones, I think.

“It’s a strong race, but we’re fit and well and very happy to be going.

“We’ll be quite happy as long as there is no firm in the ground. If the ground is good, or good to soft, that will do us fine.”

Super stayer Stradivarius has been left in by connections as they monitor the ground, with the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot next month an alternative option.

The seven-year-old entire, trained by John and Thady Gosden, has enjoyed stirring victories at York and Doncaster on his last two starts.

Stradivarius remains a possible for the Prix du Cadran (
Stradivarius remains a possible for the Prix du Cadran (Mike Egerton/PA)

Alan King will be praying for rain to allow him to run Trueshan, who has not run since winning the Goodwood Cup at the end of July as conditions have been too quick.

Ian Williams’ The Grand Visir is the third British possible, while the Willie Mullins-trained Stratum, Donnacha O’Brien’s Emperor Of The Sun and last year’s runner-up Alkuin are among others in the list.

Raabihah heads a field of 13 remaining in the other Group One race on the card, the Qatar Prix de Royallieu.

The four-year-old filly, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, has an alternative engagement in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in which she was fifth in 2020.

There are four British possibles – Roger Varian’s Believe In Love, Ed Walker’s Glenartney, Ralph Beckett’s Yesyes and the Gosden-trained Loving Dream – while top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien is two-handed with Passion and Willow.

Saeed bin Suroor’s progressive four-year-old Real World remains in both the Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein and the Qatar Prix Dollar.

The Dark Angel colt made light work of the opposition in the Group Three Strensall Stakes at York on his latest start and could get his chance at the next level.

The 18 acceptors for the Daniel Wildenstein include dual winner The Revenant, trained by Francis Graffard, Simon and Ed Crisford’s Century Dream and the Walker-trained pair of Dreamloper and Stormy Antarctic, who is also in the Dollar.

The latter contest has 19 possibles, headed by three-times Group One winner Addeybb. His trainer William Haggas is also represented by Dubai Honour.

Megallan, from the Gosden stable, the Varian-trained Third Realm and Joseph O’Brien’s Patrick Sarsfield are among others in the mix.

Teona primed for Arc test at ParisLongchamp

Roger Varian is confident Teona is “peaking at the right time” ahead of her bid for glory in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

As a daughter of the brilliant Arc hero Sea The Stars and Group One-winning mare Ambivalent, the three-year-old had plenty to live up to from day one – but Varian has never made any secret of the regard in which she is held.

She was no match for Snowfall in either the Musidora Stakes at York or the Oaks at Epsom – but having returned from a break with a Listed success at Windsor last month, Teona turned the tables to inflict a shock defeat on Aidan O’Brien’s filly in the Prix Vermeille.

The pair are set to renew rivalries over the same course and distance at ParisLongchamp this weekend – and while the betting suggests Snowfall is expected to reaffirm her superiority, Varian reports his charge could not be in better form.

“Her credentials are solid – and she has had a fairly light campaign, having had an easy time through the summer,” said the Newmarket handler.

“She’s fresh and has not been over-raced – she seems to be peaking at the right time for a race like this.

“We’ve been very happy with her since the Vermeille.”

Teona will be bidding to become the seventh horse to win the Vermeille and the Arc in the same season, while four-time Arc-winning jockey Olivier Peslier will be in the saddle.

Roger Varian has high hopes for Teona
Roger Varian has high hopes for Teona (Mike Egerton/PA)

Varian is under no illusions about the task that lies ahead in Paris, with Teona a 25-1 shot with William Hill, but he is looking forward to the challenge.

He added: “It’s a great race with serious opposition, but I think she’s deserving of her place in the line-up-  and hopefully her best days are still ahead of her.

“We can only worry about our filly and her condition, and we’re happy she’s going into the race in good shape.

“We want as good a ground as possible. The ground looks fairly safe up until the weekend, when there’s some uncertainty over the forecast.

“We’re obviously hoping the ground is good.”

There were no withdrawals at Tuesday’s second forfeit stage for the Arc, so 14 horses remain in contention before supplementary entries on Wednesday.

Tarnawa heads 14 Arc contenders

Ante-post favourite Tarnawa is one of 14 contenders to stand their ground for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Monday’s initial forfeit stage.

Dermot Weld’s mare heads the market for Sunday’s 12-furlong showpiece, after winning a Group Three on her return this season and then pushing St Mark’s Basilica all the way in the Irish Champion Stakes over an inadequate mile and a quarter last time out.

Paddy Power have the five-year-old as their 5-2 favourite, ahead of Derby and King George hero Adayar – who is due to supplemented for the race on Wednesday.

He is one of two planned contenders for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin along with St Leger victor Hurricane Lane, who is already entered in the race.

Aidan O’Brien has last year’s star filly Love and Group One winner Broome among the 14, although his Oaks winner Snowfall is another who is expected to be added to the contest later this week.

She suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Roger Varian’s Teona in the Prix Vermeille on her latest outing, and the pair could renew their ParisLongchamp rivalry.

St Leger runner-up Mojo Star, who is handled by Richard Hannon, and the William Haggas-trained Alenquer complete a formidable British and Irish line-up at this stage.

Home hopes currently rest with Baby Rider, Sealiway and Bubble Gift – with Raabihah also in the mix, although she holds an alternative entry in the Prix de l’Opera on the same card.

William Haggas' Alenquer is also on course for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
William Haggas’ Alenquer is also on course for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Steven Paston/PA)

Japan’s pair of Chrono Genesis – the mount of Oisin Murphy – and Prix Foy winner Deep Bond add an extra international element, with German runner Torquator Tasso the other possible at this stage.

There is a second forfeit on Tuesday, before supplementary entries on Wednesday – and final declarations for the Group One are on Thursday.

Bin Suroor keeps ParisLongchamp options open for Real World

Saeed bin Suroor plans to make a late call on which race Real World will contest at ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend.

The Dark Angel colt is unbeaten in three starts in Britain this season – dominating his rivals in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot before impressing in Listed company at Newbury and in the Group Three Strensall Stakes at York.

Bin Suroor had the option of saddling the four-year-old in Friday’s Joel Stakes at Newmarket, but decided to rely on Benbatl – who duly regained his title in that Group Two contest.

Real World will instead line up for either the Prix Daniel Wildenstein or the Prix Dollar on Saturday.

“We have entered him in France in two races – one over a mile (Wildenstein) and one over a mile and a quarter (Dollar),” said the Newmarket trainer.

“They are both Group Twos, and closer to the race we will make a decision.”

Lagardere aim for Goodwood victor Angel Bleu

Angel Bleu is set to step up to Group One level for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Sunday week.

Ralph Beckett’s exciting colt has not been seen in competitive action since winning the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood at the end of July, having since sidestepped the National Stakes at the Curragh.

The son of Dark Angel holds an entry in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on October 9, but is poised instead for ParisLongchamp.

Beckett said: “All being well he’ll head for the Lagardere on Arc weekend – that’s the plan.

“I think Longchamp will suit him really well.

“We had aspirations to go to the Curragh for the National Stakes, but the ground was so quick over there and as a result we thought we’d hang on for Longchamp and hope it rained.”

O’Brien happy with Snowfall and Love as Arc bid looms

Aidan O’Brien remains keen to saddle both Snowfall and Love in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday week.

Brilliant in winning the Oaks at Epsom, the Irish Oaks at the Curragh and the Yorkshire Oaks, Snowfall has long been considered a major contender for Europe’s premier middle-distance contest.

And while the daughter of Deep Impact suffered a shock defeat at the hands of the Roger Varian-trained Teona in the Prix Vermeille earlier this month, O’Brien remains optimistic ahead of the ParisLongchamp showpiece.

“She came out of the Vermeille very well – we’re very happy with her,” O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing on Wednesday.

“It was lovely for her to go round the track and we saw the way she coped with it. The ground was quick and we know that she’s very comfortable on soft ground.

“She’s a filly who gets a mile and a half well and it (Vermeille) was more of a trial.

“Frankie (Dettori) was very happy with her. Obviously she didn’t win, but I think her last six furlongs were the quickest of any horse in the race – she was really quickening and was going forward.

“Often in the trial, you’re better to get beat and things not go right than win and everything go right.

“She worked well this morning and we’re very happy with her at the moment.”

Love winning the Oaks at Epsom last season
Love winning the Oaks at Epsom last season (Bill Selwyn/PA)

Love was in a similar position to her stablemate Snowfall 12 months ago, having won the 1000 Guineas, the Epsom Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks – but missed out on a run in the Arc due to the prevailing testing conditions.

A year on, the Galileo filly is set to line up with plenty to prove following three successive defeats – most recently being touched off by La Petite Coco in the Blandford Stakes at the Curragh.

“We were delighted with her run (in the Blandford),” O’Brien added.

“The winner was rated 110 and she gave her 9lb, so it was a serious run – on ratings, it wasn’t far off her best.

“We went to the Curragh as a trial for the Arc and we think she’s really gone the right way since then.

“If the ground was nice, we were always planning on going to the Arc with her.”

Soumillon set to be reunited with Arc favourite Tarnawa

Dermot Weld has announced Christophe Soumillon will ride Tarnawa in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday week.

The five-year-old currently heads the market for the ParisLongchamp showpiece after being beaten three-quarters of a length by St Mark’s Basilica in the Irish Champion Stakes earlier this month.

She was ridden by Colin Keane that day, as she had been in her two previous outings when winning the Ballyroan Stakes on her reappearance and the Breeders’ Cup Turf at the end of last year.

Keane was a late replacement for Soumillon in America, with the rider ruled out after testing positive for Covid-19.

Soumillon had previously ridden Tarnawa to win both the Prix Vermeille and the Prix de l’Opera and he will reclaim the mount as he is the retained rider in France for owner the Aga Khan.

Weld told the Irish Times: “Christophe Soumillon will ride Tarnawa in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. He knows the filly well and he is His Highness’ retained jockey in France.”

Tarnawa is the general 11-4 favourite for the Arc ahead of Derby hero Adayar, who is a 4-1 shot.

McGuinness planning Abbaye outing for A Case Of You

Adrian McGuinness’ A Case Of You is heading to France as he is set to be supplemented for the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp.

The three-year-old was last seen finishing second in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on September 12, coming home half a length behind Romantic Proposal having started at 33-1.

That performance was the colt’s first run over five furlongs, with his prior victories having been collected over six or six and a half furlongs in the Group Three Anglesey Stakes, the Race and the Group Three Lacken Stakes.

A Case Of You will now tackle a sprint trip again on October 3, with the last call for entries for the five-furlong event on September 30.

“He’s going to be supplemented for the Abbaye, so he goes there next week,” McGuinness confirmed.

“He came out of his race really well, he was bouncing and very happy.

“I think he’s improved, it was his first time over five (furlongs) and I really am looking forward to a big run there (ParisLongchamp).

“People were telling me that he was a seven (furlong) horse and that he needed six (furlongs), but he showed me a lot of natural speed at home.

“That’s why we decided to drop back to five, it was his first run ever over five.

“For a three-year-old to run for the first time ever over five furlongs, taking on some of the best sprinters in training and to finish the way he finished, you couldn’t complain.”

Should the son of Hot Streak fare well in Paris, a voyage further afield could be on the agenda as McGuinness is considering another international speed contest in the shape of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

“We’ll make plans after that, we’ll see which way the Abbaye goes, but there is a possibility that if he ran well he might go to the Breeders’ Cup,” he said.

“Either way I do think he’s definitely going to get better, he’s an exciting horse to look forward to for the future.”

Pearls Galore has Foret venture in sights

The Prix de la Foret may be next on the agenda for Pearls Galore following her narrow defeat in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.

After successive Group Three wins at Fairyhouse and Tipperary, Paddy Twomey’s filly stepped up to Group One level for the first time on Saturday – and ran an excellent race to finish a neck behind No Speak Alexander, and just over a length ahead of Mother Earth.

Pearls Galore is entered in the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on October 2, but is more likely to be seen in action at ParisLongchamp the following afternoon.

Twomey said: “I was delighted with her. She hasn’t put a foot wrong all year.

“I’d say the plan is to go for the Foret in France, as long as the ground isn’t too soft.

“Her owners are French-based, and they might like to see her in Paris.”

The Cashel-based trainer had just three runners across Irish Champions Weekend – with Limiti Di Greccio beaten just half a length in a Listed event at Leopardstown before La Petite Coco’s short-head victory over Love in Sunday’s Blandford Stakes at the Curragh.

Limiti Di Greccio (orange) also ran well in defeat
Limiti Di Greccio (orange) also ran well in defeat (Brian Lawless/PA)

Limiti Di Greccio is entered in the Rockfel Stakes and the Cheveley Park at Newmarket next week, but is set to remain in Ireland.

“She has a couple of entries at Newmarket and is entered in the Boussac in France, but I think she might stay at home,” Twomey added.

“She could go for the Silken Glider (Staffordstown Stud Stakes), which is a Listed race at the Curragh we won with Fantasy Lady last year, or there’s the Weld Park Stakes.

“One of those options might be more where we’ll go, but we haven’t quite decided with her yet.”

La Petite Coco, meanwhile, is bound for next month’s Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot.

Twomey said: “She seems in great form and has come out of the race very well.

“She’s a filly that has progressed all year, so it was great to continue on an upward trajectory.

“Ascot has been the plan from the middle of the season onwards, and that very much remains the case.

“If the ground came up soft, it would inconvenience other horses more than her.”

Abbaye aim for Mo Celita following ParisLongchamp fourth

Mo Celita remains on course for the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp following a creditable effort in defeat there on Sunday.

Despite the ground being on the fast side and having an unfavourable wide draw, the Adrian Nicholls-trained filly stuck on well to take fourth place behind Berneuil in the Group Three Prix du Petit Couvert.

Connections will be hoping the conditions and draw will be kinder for the five-furlong feature on on October 3.

“We got back last night. She’s come out of it good. I thought she ran a blinder on ground that was probably on the quicker side for her and a draw that was on the outside and hard to win from,” said Nicholls.

“Take nothing away from the winner, who won well. He was the one with the best form of the French, but she’s done us proud again.

“I’m not saying she’d have beaten the winner but if she had a better draw, and a bit more juice in the ground, she’d have been in the first three.

“The round track was beautiful ground but the straight track was quick. They don’t water it as they don’t use it very often.

“She’s still in the Abbaye. We’ll just monitor the weather. At the moment it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of rain but that can change.

“There are a few other options – a fillies’ Listed race at Newmarket and another race in France. The main aim is to go out for there for the Abbaye and then to discuss with (owners) Mr (David) Redvers and Mr (David) Howden if she is going to stay in training or what the plans are.

“She’s still on an upward curve. I was chuffed to bits with her. She’s entitled to go for the Abbaye. She has proven that.”