Seamie Heffernan will take over in the saddle from suspended apprentice Joey Sheridan when Princess Zoe bids to double her Group One tally in the Prix Royal-Oak at ParisLongchamp.
The Tony Mullins-trained mare has enjoyed a meteoric rise since being bought from Germany this year, progressing from a mark of 64 when second on her Irish debut at Navan in June to claim top-level honours in the Prix du Cadran on Arc weekend.
The five-year-old will be bidding for a sixth successive win on her return to Paris on Sunday, but is in need of a new partner after Sheridan received a hefty suspension for his use of the whip aboard her in the Cadran at the start of this month.
Multiple Group One-winning jockey Heffernan has been booked, and got to know his big-race mount in a workout over the weekend.
“She’s as fit as she can be,” said Mullins.
“Seamie sat on her on Sunday – he was very happy with her, and we were very happy with him.
“Joey is obviously suspended, which is a shame. He got six days for too many strikes with the whip, and they doubled the penalty because it was a Group One – which is a rule I couldn’t find in any rule book anywhere. Anyway, that’s the way it goes.
“We’re very happy with the mare. All I can say is that in the back of my mind I’m thinking a two-and-a-half-mile race less than three weeks ago has to take its toll at some stage, but there is no evidence at the moment, so we’re set to go.
“We’ve done all our blood tests, and everything is perfect. I would say the next one is the acid test, in the last 100 metres next Sunday.”
Princess Zoe is already priced up as ante-post favourite for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with some bookmakers, and owners Paddy Kehoe and his sister Philomena Crampton are keen on a jumping career.
However, Mullins wants to see how she performs on Sunday before making any firm plans.
He added: “The owner has expressed an interest in that (jumping).
“I’m not saying he’s right or wrong – only that it ups your chance of injury with a very valuable mare.
“We’ll probably readdress it again next Sunday, but at the moment all I can say is it’s not off the table yet.”
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John Quinn was proud of his three runners who put up admirable performances in defeat in two of the Group One races at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
Liberty Beach and Keep Busy finished third and fifth respectively in the Prix de l’Abbaye, while Safe Voyage was third in the Prix de la Foret.
For a moment, the North Yorkshire trainer thought Liberty Beach might lift the big sprint prize in the hands of Frankie Dettori, only to go down by half a length behind Wooded, with Keep Busy sticking on well to be beaten two lengths in all.
“They ran very well. Liberty Beach ran great. It looked like maybe she was going to do it, she just got beat, but she ran really well,” said Quinn.
“Keep Busy was flat out, but finished well. She ran a good race and wasn’t beaten far.”
Safe Voyage put in good late work behind One Master and Earthlight, beaten half a length as the winner sealed a record hat-trick of victories in the Foret.
“It looked like they were going to get away from him, but he battled back and was nearly going to get up, but the winning post came too soon,” the trainer said.
Quinn is no rush to make plans for the trio, adding: “We’ll let the dust settle before deciding what we do with them.”
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Sealiway absolutely relished the testing conditions as he turned the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere into a procession at ParisLongchamp.
Trained by Ferderic Rossi, the Galiway colt appeared to have a bit to find on the form book with the overseas runners, with a second in a Group Three last time out the best of his form.
That was a good deal removed from Clive Cox’s Nando Parrado, who caused a 150-1 shock at Royal Ascot and proved that was no fluke when chasing home Campanelle in the Prix Morny.
He was keen early for Christophe Soumillon, as Mick Channon’s Cairn Gorm set only steady fractions, understandably in the very soft ground.
Nando Parrado was well placed to strike when the small field entered the false straight, but as Cairn Gorm began to back pedal, it was Sealiway who hit the front and Nando Parrado had no answer.
The race was over as a contest on entering the final half a furlong and although there was little between the others, with Ken Condon’s Laws Of Indices sticking to his task gamely on the rail to claim third, Sealiway was a country mile in front of Nando Parrado.
For Rossi, who won the French 1000 Guineas with Dream And Do earlier this season, he appears to have another Classic contender on his hands, while it was another Group One for Mickael Barzalona.
Rossi said: “I’ve always thought he was a Group One horse, but to go away in that final straight was impressive.
“The initial plan was to run in the Prix Morny, but we very quickly realised that distance would not be to his advantage and he needed a longer trip.
“We decided to ride him differently and I told Mickael Barzalona to ride him the English way – let the horse him express himself and go early.
“The owners are happy to travel with this horse and he could go to the Breeders’ Cup. We will discuss that first before thinking about next year.”
He added: “For 15 minutes after Alkuin was just beaten by Princess Zoe in the Cadran (on Saturday), it was hard, but today is more the satisfaction of having trained a horse I have always believed in.
“From the beginning of the year I thought he was a proper Group One horse.”
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Aidan O’Brien’s four planned runners in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe have all been withdrawn from the race after positive urine samples indicated the presence of a banned substance from contaminated feed.
O’Brien was due to field Japan, Sovereign, Mogul and Serpentine against Enable at ParisLongchamp on Sunday, as John Gosden’s mare bids to win the great race for an unprecedented third time.
None of the quartet will, however, take part after it emerged late on Saturday evening that they have tested positive for a banned substance, believed to be zilpaterol – potentially from batches of feed supplied by Gain Equine Nutrition.
On Friday, the supplier confirmed that it is “investigating the potential presence of a contaminant in some batches of our equine feed range”.
The absence of O’Brien’s runners was announced via a Tweet on the official account of O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard.
It read: “Unfortunately the results of the urine samples taken from the horses yesterday have come back positive from the French laboratory.
“There is a possibility that the contaminant may have left their system by the time of racing tomorrow – however we have no guarantee of this, and in order to protect the integrity of racing we have decided to withdraw all our horses from racing tomorrow.
“Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien will do likewise.”
O’Brien’s two sons each had leading Group One contenders due to race on Sunday.
Donnacha’s Fancy Blue was declared in the Prix de l’Opera, while his older brother Joseph had Pretty Gorgeous in the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac.
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Princess Zoe completed her fairytale story with a dramatic last-gasp victory in the Group One Qatar Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp.
Ridden by apprentice Joey Sheridan, who was unable to claim his allowance, Princess Zoe reeled in long-time leader Alkuin just yards from the finish to snatch the two-and-a-half mile stamina test.
Rated just 64 when runner-up on her first outing for Irish trainer Tony Mullins after been previously trained in Germany, the five-year-old has gone from strength to strength in a short space of time.
Having won three handicaps, Princess Zoe lifted a Listed contest at Galway on her latest outing, tempting connections to aim high. They were proved right as she reduced a big deficit to score by half a length at the highest level.
Princess Zoe was at least six lengths down with less than two furlongs to run, but she would not be denied as she reeled in Alkuin. Favourite Call The Wind was a further 15 lengths back in third.
Mullins said: “I certainly didn’t think three months ago this as going to happen, but Joey Sheridan came down to work her last week and when she pulled up, I said we were going to win in France.
“She just kept improving so fast, even before the Listed race she won – I had been eyeing it because she was improving at such a rate I wasn’t able to keep up to her.
“As the season was closing, and she was improving so fast, I was just very confident.”
The original plan to send Princess Zoe for next year’s Cheltenham Festival has been scrapped, at least for the time being.
“The owner (Paddy Kehoe) and his sister (Philomena) are huge Cheltenham fans and we had her pencilled in. Then she started improving so fast I said to Paddy ‘we’ll go to France and if she wins I’ll be recommending she doesn’t go jumping’, not for the moment anyway,” said Mullins.
The County Kilkenny handler will even consider next year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe if the ground was suitable.
“Our plan now is to go anywhere there is not firm ground. I don’t mind good ground. That may even be the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe next year,” he said.
“This is just an unbelievable mare. I just can’t explain how I’m feeling now.”
Mullins recalled a big day as a jump jockey when he rode Dawn Run to victory in the French Champion Hurdle at nearby Auteuil for his late father, Paddy.
“At Auteuil, on the other side of the Bois de Boulogne, I won the French Champion Hurdle on Dawn Run in 1984, so it’s 36 years and that was a great day too,” he said.
“When you’re training seven days a week with the horse, you’re so much more involved and worried all the time.
“A jockey is very important, but he sits up at the last minute. As a jockey I used to love it – as a trainer, to win a Group One is just off the scale.”
Sheridan, 18, cannot believe his luck in only his second season as a jockey.
“I got a lot of confidence off Tony. I rode her work the last time. He couldn’t have had her any more right for today,” said the 5lb claimer.
“On her form, she had every right to be here.
“It means everything – it’s a dream come true. From riding ponies at home, seven years later to be winning a Group One is the stuff of dreams. It’s a fairytale. It’s only my second year riding.”
David Menuisier has next year’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in mind for Wonderful Tonight, after she gave him a first Group One in his native country in the Qatar Prix de Royallieu at ParisLongchamp.
Menuisier, the Sussex-based but French-born trainer, and owner Christopher Wright had thought about supplementing the lightly-raced filly for Sunday’s showpiece this year – only to stick to their original plan, and see it come to fruition.
With just seven career starts to her name, the three-year-old daughter of Le Havre is set to stay in training in 2021 – and it is possible too she may run again this term in the British Champions Fillies’ And Mares Stakes at Ascot, after having her odds halved from 16-1 to 8-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power.
Wonderful Tonight was sent off the 7-2 favourite for the Royallieu, having won a Group Three race in Deauville and finished a creditable fifth in the Prix Vermeille last month.
Jockey Tony Piccone had her well-positioned just off the pace set by Frankie Dettori on Miss Yoda for John Gosden – with the Ralph Beckett-trained Manuela De Vega on his heels and Pista, trained by Joseph O’Brien, not far away.
Piccone made his move early in the home straight, and Wonderful Tonight kicked on over two furlongs out. She drifted towards the stands side – while her nearest pursuer, Pista, spoilt her chance by going the other way towards the far rail.
Wonderful Tonight maintained the gallop throughout the entire mile-and-three-quarter trip to score by a length and a quarter from Pista.
The first two drew five lengths clear of Ebaiyra in third place.
Menuisier said: “I am so proud of the filly. She is very tough, and I think it was a well-deserved win, because she didn’t do it the easy way – she won the hard way.
“She was still a bit keen throughout, and I think it’s greenness. She’s not a filly that pulls or whatever. She’s still not the finished article. There is, in my opinion, bags of improvement to come in the way she does things.
“I’m over the moon.”
Menuisier is in no rush just yet to commit her to Ascot, though.
“She’s entered ,and I can’t say either way,” he added.
“We will see how she comes out of the race obviously. It’s in two weeks’ time – and (we’ll) see if the track is still waterlogged!
“We need to play it by ear. She might be kicking and bucking in five days, because she is a bit like that. If she does we might think about it.”
“She will stay in training, all being well, and the main target will be the Arc next year.
“We had a discussion about supplementing her this year. It was tongue in cheek, or maybe it wasn’t. If I had known Love wasn’t running maybe I would have pushed even harder to supplement her.
“She was really well – and receiving weight from the older horses, she would have gone quite far. I’m not saying she would have won, but I think she would not have been far away. Anyway, it’s water under the bridge.”
Menuisier recalled how he came to acquire the filly for 40,000 euros at Arqana August Yearling Sales in France.
“She was unsold in the ring,” he said.
“I knew the breeders, and they asked me to look at her. I loved the way she walked – she was light on her feet, like a spider. She was such a good mover.
“On the same day, Chris Wright sold the top lot to Godolphin – I went to congratulate him, and the discussion went on to something else.
“I told him about this filly – saying she didn’t look much, because she was a backward filly, but once she’s come together she could be a good purchase.
“They only wanted 40,000 euros and he said ‘OK – if you like her, have her vetted, and buy her’. And that’s what we did.”
Clive Cox reports Nando Parrado in fine form as he heads to the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at ParisLongchamp.
The Kodiac colt was a shock 150-1 winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, and his Lambourn trainer is full of hope for a big run with the ground in his favour on Sunday.
“I’m very pleased, because he is in excellent form, and it gives me confidence knowing that he will handle the conditions – that is a great plus, given the weather forecast,” said Cox.
“He has enjoyed a tremendous season already, with winning the Coventry and being second in the Morny. This a race that we are pleased to be stepping up to seven furlongs in.”
Mick Channon’s Cairn Gorm, who was eighth in the Morny, is the other British raider in a six-strong field.
“I was very pleased with him in the Morny, because it was very testing ground,” said Channon.
“He ran a nice race, but was clearly doing his best work in the closing stages – which is why we are stepping up to the seven on Sunday.
“I think his pedigree would suggest this will bring more out of him, especially on the dam’s side. He has had a good time between his races.“
Fev Rover carries plenty of confidence in the Prix Marcel Boussac.
A Group Two winner at Deauville on her latest start, the Richard Fahey-trained filly is owned by Nick Bradley Racing 43 And Partner.
Bradley said: “She’s in serious form at home.
“I spoke to Richard (Fahey) on Friday morning, and she’s a lot more professional than when Ben (Curtis) last rode her at Sandown.
“We are drawn eight – which looks a good draw, bearing in mind (likely favourite) Pretty Gorgeous is drawn 14.”
Jean-Claude Rouget admits being surprised by Tawkeel, who bids to take her perfect record to six out of six in the Prix de l’Opera.
“She doesn’t share that characteristic that has bedevilled other members of the same family that I’ve trained, in the sense that they’ve made flying starts to their career – which they haven’t backed up,” he said.
“She, on the contrary, has done nothing but progress – and each time, she has astonished me. In the Opera, we will be seeking to maintain her unbeaten record.”
James Fanshawe’s Audarya caused an upset in the Group One Prix Jean Romanet on soft ground, but her trainer cannot be sure she will handle conditions at the weekend.
“It was very holding ground when she won the Romanet at Deauville,” said Fanshawe.
“I don’t think anyone can really judge how a horse is going to go on this ground until they get on it, though – because heavy ground at different courses always varies.
“She’s in good form. She obviously goes well on soft ground – whether she goes on what it will be, we’ll see on Sunday.”
John Quinn has no concerns about the ground for Safe Voyage in the Prix de la Foret.
The seven-year-old is the oldest horse in the field, but arrives in Paris on the back of winning a pair of Group Two contests.
“He is in great form,” said Quinn.
“Jason (Hart) knows him and rides him very well, so we are hoping he’ll run well and hope he can win.
“Soft ground is fine for him.”
Safe Voyage was fourth 12 months ago to the William Haggas-trained One Master, who goes for a third win in the race, while Andre Fabre’s Earthlight is among the strong opposition.
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Jockey Tom Eaves believes Glass Slippers has what it takes to become the fifth dual winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp.
Lochsong was the last to complete back-to-back victories in 1993 and 1994, and Glass Slippers’ prospects of repeating her success 12 months ago have been boosted by the withdrawal of Battaash due to the testing conditions on Sunday.
Plenty of cut in the ground holds no fears for the Kevin Ryan-trained filly, who appears to thrive at this time of year.
After being beaten by Battaash on her first two starts this term, the four-year-old showed she was coming to form at the right time with victory in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh last month.
“It was soft ground last year, and she won it well,” said Eaves.
“She has come out of Ireland well, and we are looking forward to Sunday.
“She’s in good form, and came to herself at this time last year.”
Glass Slippers has been drawn wide in stall 10 of the 11 runners, which some pundits see as a negative – but that does not worry Eaves.
“I’ll ride her as I find her, as normal – she’s quite versatile like that,” he added.
“She’s got form on the track. She’s won there twice and she’s got form on slow ground – (so) it’s fingers crossed.”
Keep Busy and Liberty Beach were second and seventh respectively behind Glass Slippers at the Curragh.
They are both trained by John Quinn, who is expecting a bold show from them.
“They are two good fillies,” said the North Yorkshire handler.
“Liberty Beach has had a good year. She has run well every time – maybe she was a bit disappointing at Goodwood, but they aren’t machines. She ran well at the Curragh, but didn’t get much luck.
“She has form on soft ground. She ran well in the Queen Mary on soft ground last year, and she’s fit and well.
“Keep Busy is in very good form. She ran very well at the Curragh and she relishes soft ground.
“I think they will run well – and that one of them will win! We are hoping for a bit of luck.”
With the mud flying, hopes are also high the Denis Hogan-trained Make A Challenge will make his presence felt.
The five-year-old has been in tremendous form this season and will again be ridden by Joe Doyle, who said: “By the sound of things, it is going to be plenty testing. Our lad would love it to be up to his knees – he’s absolutely exceptional on very soft ground.
“I don’t think I would swap my lad for anything else in the race if it turns up to be very testing.
“I think he has come on from the last day (fifth to Glass Slippers) – perhaps he was getting it a little easy at Listed level, and I think the last day just sharpened him up. He’s going to have to be sharp – take nothing for granted, it is a massive task in front of him.
“The horse is in savage order – and if things go right for us, he could run an absolutely massive race.”
Meanwhile, James Fanshawe believes it is worth taking a punt with Archer’s Dream – because she too will relish the underfoot conditions.
“The Abbaye closed early, so we had her entered,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“She could have run in the Rous Stakes at Ascot (subsequently abandoned for waterlogging on Saturday) – but with all the rain in France, we decided to give it a go.
“She’s got a bit to find, but is very well. She travelled very well to the furlong pole in the Haydock Sprint Cup and will love the ground.”
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Battaash has been ruled out of Sunday’s Prix de l’Abbaye due to concerns over the testing ground at ParisLongchamp.
The six-year-old is unbeaten in three starts this term for Charlie Hills, having bagged the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot, the King George Stakes at Goodwood and the Nunthorpe at York on his most recent outing in August.
He had been due to have a fourth crack at the Abbaye this weekend, having won the race in 2017 and finished fourth in 2018 before coming home a disappointing 14th on very soft ground last year.
The prospect of similar conditions this year following a wet week in Paris has forced connections into a rethink.
Hills said: “They have had 13 millimetres of rain overnight, added to the rest earlier in the week.
“I think it was 4.1 on the penetrometer last year and it’s probably going to be the same, if not worse than that, this year, so we won’t be running.”
When asked if Battaash could now head to next month’s Breeders’ Cup meeting, Hills replied: “We’ll have to see how he is.
“There’s one obvious race for him in America, but we’ll just have to see.”
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Owner Peter Brant will look to Sottsass to realise his dream of winning the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp.
Triptych finished third in two Arcs for Brant back in the 1980s and it falls to the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Sottsass to carry his hopes again this year.
The four-year-old came close to victory when third last year, and American industrialist Brant – who is steeped in racing history as both an owner and breeder – remains just as eager as ever for glory in the 12-furlong Group One showpiece.
He told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast: “I can only say of any race in the world, I would most like to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, mostly because it’s kind of the European championship in many ways.
“It’s the classic distance of a mile and a half and it really involves three or four years of horses, which means that you’re really going through light years to heavy years on talent and it’s a much difficult kind of race to win.”
Sottsass arguably had more obvious claims last term, having won the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix Niel on his way to the big day, while this term he has won just one of his four outings, taking the Prix Ganay at Chantilly in June.
The Siyouni colt was last seen finishing two lengths behind Magical when fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes, but Brant – who has owned and bred Kentucky Derby winners and has engaged again with the sport in recent years – believes Rouget will have his runner primed for what has been the ultimate target.
He said: “I think he’s a really superior horse, no doubt. He won the French Derby impressively and won his race before that very impressively.
“He’s won on all different kinds of grounds – soft and firm. I think he broke the track record for the French Derby and he won impressively beating Persian King, who’s proven himself to be a very good horse.
“It’s a very good field and I think he’s an excellent horse.
“I think Jean-Claude Rouget has really pointed the horse to this race and as he does many times, he picks a spot that he’s going to run to.
“He’s a very sound horse, I don’t think he’s been overtrained or undertrained and I think he goes to the race well.”
France Galop reported at total of 14.4 millimetres of rain had fallen this week at ParisLongchamp up to Wednesday morning, leaving the ground very soft.
It was very soft when Sottsass was beaten by both Waldgeist and the reopposing Enable last year year, and Brant feels the ground offers an unknown factor.
He added: “This kind of ground, you never know who’s going to like it or not – it depends how much it rains. It could be good to soft which would be fine, or it could be really soft.
“Last year the grass was a bit new and it wasn’t a really good course to run on. I think Enable suffered running on that course, but there were great horses in the race and it was a great race.”
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Battaash remains on course to try to regain his Prix de l’Abbaye crown against 13 potential rivals, including last year’s winner Glass Slippers.
Charlie Hills’ brilliant sprinter is also joined in the possible field for Sunday’s five-furlong Group One at ParisLongchamp by five further British challengers.
As well as Glass Slippers, who prevailed on soft ground 12 months ago when Battaash fell untypically short back in 14th of 16, Hills’ star may this time also come up against Denis Hogan’s Irish hope Make A Challenge.
The five-year-old was unable to contain Flying Five Stakes winner Glass Slippers when only fifth at the Curragh this month, but previously won four of six starts up to Group Two level this summer.
Among the home challenge in the Abbaye, after Wednesday’s forfeits but in advance of a supplementary stage which pertains for all Sunday’s Group Ones, bar the showpiece Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, is the sole two-year-old still in the reckoning, Jane Soubagne’s filly Livachope.
Air De Valse (Corine Barande-Barbe) and Wooded (Francis Graffard), first and second over course and distance this month, also fly the French flag.
The British contingent is completed by Liberty Beach and Flying Five runner-up Keep Busy, both from John Quinn’s North Yorkshire yard, James Fanshawe’s Archer’s Dream, Robert Cowell’s Rocket Action and James Bethell’s Moss Gill.
Four further Group Ones on the stellar card see Ireland remain very well-represented in the Prix de l’Opera, including the first three from the French Oaks.
Donnacha O’Brien’s Fancy Blue won by a short neck in a blanket finish at Chantilly in July, from Jessica Harrington’s Alpine Star and his father Aidan’s Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Peaceful.
Completing a possible Irish quintet over 10 furlongs is another three-year-old, O’Brien senior’s Laburnum, and Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa – following her surprise success in the Prix Vermeille.
There are three British challengers, in the shape of John Gosden’s Terebellum, Fanshawe’s long-priced Deauville Group One winner Audarya and Ralph Beckett’s long-absent Feliciana De Vega.
Leading the home contenders is Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and Jean-Claude Rouget’s unbeaten three-year-old Group One winner Tawkeel.
In the Prix de la Foret, over seven furlongs, William Haggas’ One Master currently has 14 potential rivals as she seeks a third successive victory in the race.
Three fellow British contenders could stand in her way – Quinn’s Safe Voyage, who beat One Master at York last month, and Supreme Stakes one-two, Andrew Balding’s Happy Power and Richard Fahey’s Toro Strike.
Lancaster House and Lope Y Fernandez may travel for O’Brien, while his son Joseph has Speak In Colours.
Andre Fabre’s three-year-olds Earthlight and Tropbeau are principal French hopes.
Clive Cox’s Nando Parrado is one of nine juveniles left in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.
The shock Coventry Stakes winner, runner-up in the Prix Morny since, may face fellow British hopes Megallan, for Gosden, and Mick Channon’s Cairn Gorm.
St Mark’s Basilica and Wembley could represent O’Brien, while Ken Condon’s Laws Of Indices is another possible from Ireland.
The three-strong home team comprises Xaario, Sealiway and Selket.
There are still 19 two-year-old fillies in the Prix Marcel Boussac – including Fahey’s Deauville Group Two winner Fev Rover as one of four possible British runners.
The others are Mark Johnston’s Dubai Fountain, the Hills-trained Prado and Lilac Road, from Haggas’ Newmarket yard.
Group Three winners Divinely and Mother Earth may represent O’Brien, whose son Joseph still has Moyglare Stud Stakes runner-up Pretty Gorgeous in the reckoning. Condon’s Thunder Beauty may also travel from Ireland.
https://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/2.55093940-scaled.jpg12802560Geegeez Newshttps://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/geegeez_banner_new_300x100.pngGeegeez News2020-09-30 12:01:222020-09-30 12:01:22Battaash remains in Abbaye mix at latest stage
John Gosden is confident Enable is “ready to put in a big, bold effort” as she bids again for a historic third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp.
The brilliant mare suffered just the second of only three career defeats in 18 starts 12 months ago when she was agonisingly caught deep in the final furlong by Waldgeist on rain-softened ground, as she sought an unprecedented hat-trick in the great race.
After owner Khalid Abdullah chose to keep her in training as a six-year-old for another shot at the Arc, Gosden has been clear throughout that this Sunday is the date that matters above all for her and jockey Frankie Dettori.
He is mindful of tough opposition, headed by Aidan O’Brien’s dual Classic-winning filly Love and including his own three-time Ascot Gold Cup hero Stradivarius, in a field of 15 following Tuesday’s forfeit stage – with the possibility of supplementary entries on Wednesday.
Gosden is satisfied, however, that he has Enable in the right shape – having begun her campaign by finishing second to Ghaiyyath in the Eclipse at Sandown and then winning Ascot’s King George and the September Stakes at Kempton, as she did en route to Paris two years ago.
Assessing her season so far, he said on Paddy Power’s podcast From The Horse’s Mouth: “I think she’s found it more difficult – she’s older and bigger and heavier, and getting to race fitness.
“I went gently at it – it was a struggle, though, and when I ran her in the Eclipse, I was very clear with everyone beforehand that the race would put her right.
“She went there at 80 per cent, and the race did put her right – she went and won the King George.
“She’s been in good form since – she had a nice breeze round in the September Stakes, nothing too taxing for her because the Arc has been the target all year.”
Unlike two years ago, there have been no hitches since then.
Gosden added: “She’s happy and well in herself – Frankie breezed her on the round gallop on the Limekilns on Saturday and he was very pleased with her.
“It’s still a few days to go – and she’s ready to put in a big, bold effort.
“We’re perfectly aware how tough the race is, and we’re perfectly aware how tough the opposition is.”
With age, Gosden acknowledges, the task facing Enable is a different one.
“I think she was overwhelmingly the best as a three-year-old, getting the weight in her first Arc,” he said.
“The second Arc, she struggled, had an injury, came back (and) won in the September Stakes, then got sick and then went to the Arc.
“She’d missed some work but she hung in there – and last year she ran a blinder.
“I think we all went a stride (too) quick and all moved a little bit soon for the conditions – let’s hope we can go one better this year.
“But we’re totally aware that (with) the favourite (Love, who has drifted to second-favourite behind Enable) getting all the weight, it’s a mighty task giving that weight.
“Having said that, we benefited from it when we were a three-year-old winning the Arc, so we can’t exactly complain now!”
Gosden’s unbeaten 2019 St Leger winner Logician has been taken out of the Arc, and will instead head to Ascot’s Group Two Cumberland Lodge Stakes on Saturday.
Super stayer Stradivarius remains on course to test himself against Europe’s best middle-distance horses, though, having pleased his trainer when runner-up in the Prix Foy.
Encouraged by that performance, Gosden said: “I thought for a horse who’s a Gold Cup winner, he showed great acceleration in the straight – going down by half a neck to Anthony Van Dyck, who seems to have found his form again.
“I thought it was a very good trial from both of them – and the horses behind, the French horses, could never get to them.”
Stradivarius has since been in fine form at home, and Gosden is no longer concerned about the prospect of soft ground.
“I’m very happy with him – he worked well on Saturday, with Rab Havlin on board, and he’s all ready to go,” he said.
“We’ve always thought of him as a top-of-the-ground horse, but he did somewhat surprise us in the Ascot Gold Cup this year.
“So we slightly revised our viewpoint – it seems that he handles most ground.”
Conditions have counted against a European adventure for Logician at this stage, however.
Gosden said: “I think the way the ground’s gone, at the moment I don’t want to put him through that kind of test right now, so he will run in the Cumberland Lodge at Ascot on Saturday.”
https://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/2.54730122-scaled.jpg12802560Geegeez Newshttps://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/geegeez_banner_new_300x100.pngGeegeez News2020-09-29 15:11:492020-09-30 10:49:10Gosden full of hope ahead of Enable’s date with destiny
British-based jockeys riding at ParisLongchamp this weekend may yet be exempt from self-isolation on their return – with the British Horseracing Authority set to make a submission to Public Health England on Tuesday.
As things stand, those who ride in France this weekend would need to self-isolate for seven days under the elite sportsperson’s exemption, rather than the standard 14 days.
Earlier in the season, Frankie Dettori was forced to choose between riding Palace Pier and Mishriff at Deauville, then completing a spell in isolation, or being available for York’s Ebor meeting – and he chose France.
With the likes of Dettori, Ryan Moore, Andrea Atzeni and champion jockey Oisin Murphy keen to be able to ride at Newmarket’s Future Champions Day the following weekend, an ease in the restrictions would be most welcome for them.
The exemption the BHA is seeking would also include trainers and stable staff.
A BHA spokesman said: “Our COVID-19 protocols are kept under constant review.
“The existing protocols around elite sportspeople and essential support staff – which includes jockeys, trainers and stable staff – travelling to countries with self-isolation restrictions allow for the period of self-isolation to be reduced to a minimum of seven days upon completion of the necessary testing.
“We are currently looking at these protocols with a view to making a submission to Public Health England that they might be adjusted, which may include a full exemption from self-isolation for the purposes of training and competition if a strict testing regime and rigorous travel and separation protocols are adhered to.
“We will look to provide further updates in the next 24 hours.”
https://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/fe77c9a9-6aec-475c-89d8-39a751977005.jpg5351070Geegeez Newshttps://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/geegeez_banner_new_300x100.pngGeegeez News2020-09-28 16:03:352020-09-30 10:49:03Quarantine exemption still possible for British jockeys at ParisLongchamp
Clive Cox will aim to continue an excellent season with his juveniles when Nando Parrado runs in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at ParisLongchamp.
Cox had been considering a run in the Dewhurst with the shock Coventry Stakes winner, but the prospect of soft ground in Paris on Sunday has helped to make the decision for him.
As well as the Coventry Stakes, Cox has won the Middle Park and Richmond with Supremacy this season and the Rockfel with Isabella Giles.
“With the (wet) forecast, he’s actually going to travel to France on Sunday for the Lagardere,” Cox told Sky Sports Racing.
“He did a really good job winning the Coventry, and at that stage we were intent on looking further with him, and he then finished second in the Morny.
“The prospect of easy ground has lured us that way – and I’m very much looking forward to it, because he’s in excellent form.”
Cox was encouraged by Nando Parrado’s performance at Deauville last month.
“He was drawn next to a filly (Campanelle, the winner) in the Morny and was in the stalls a long time,” he added.
“Christophe Soumillon rode him and wanted to keep on the rail – quite rightly, he’s a world-class jockey and knew where he wanted to go – (and) it was a very pleasing run.
“The extra furlong will be really interesting, and I’m convinced it will be well up his street. We think and awful lot of him. He’s got a lot of class.
“We’ve got an amazing group of two-year-olds, one to dream about. I was very concerned at the beginning of the season when we weren’t sure when we’d resume – so I’m so pleased it’s all worked out.”
https://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/2.54229640-scaled.jpg12802560Geegeez Newshttps://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/geegeez_banner_new_300x100.pngGeegeez News2020-09-28 11:29:582020-09-30 10:49:00Nando Parrado all set for Lagardere
Princess Zoe will bid to crown her fairytale campaign with Group One glory in the Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp on Saturday.
Formerly trained in Germany, the daughter of Jukebox Jury was given a mark of just 64 by the Irish handicapper and finished second on her first start for Tony Mullins at Navan in June.
Three months on, the grey has earned a three-figure figure rating with four consecutive victories – winning the Ladies Derby and landing two valuable handicaps at the Galway Festival, before returning to Ballybrit to land a Listed prize earlier this month.
Having come within half a length of of winning the Cesarewitch with Party Playboy last autumn, Mullins considered sending Princess Zoe to Newmarket in a bid to go one better, but she is instead set to head for France on Arc weekend.
Mullins said: “We took her out of the Cesarewitch as she had top weight and I thought it was a bit much to ask.
“We nearly won it last year with another horse for the same owner (Party Playboy), so it would have been lovely to go back. The lack of prize money was a big factor and I just felt at the end of a long year, we’d be better going for a bit of black type.
“At the moment our intention is to go for the Prix du Cadran. She’s moved from a low handicapper to the top of the handicap, then she moved nicely to Listed class and now we’re just hoping she can move into Group class.
“We can nearly guarantee there’ll be a cut in the ground in Longchamp. As long as there’s no firmness in the ground, we’re happy to go.”
The Kilkenny-based trainer confirmed leading Irish apprentice Joey Sheridan is set to keep the ride in Paris.
He added: “A good few jockeys have been looking for the ride, which tells me there’s going to be very few runners. But at the moment, my owner is happy to leave Joey Sheridan on, even though he can’t claim.
“Joey is a 5lb claimer, but he has already won three Listed races this year with no claim, which is phenomenal. I can’t ever remember an apprentice winning three Listed races when still having a 5lb claim.”
https://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/2.54828692-scaled.jpg12802560Geegeez Newshttps://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/geegeez_banner_new_300x100.pngGeegeez News2020-09-26 15:56:082020-09-30 10:48:47Princess Zoe on course for Cadran outing
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