Springboard all around at ParisLongchamp

12 April 2019

Photos Lily's Candle (left), Persian King and Epic Hero : scoopdyga.com

Three group races feature on Sunday, April 14th card at ParisLongchamp for a second meeting of the year on the scenic venue.

The Prix de Fontainebleau (Gr3) is the main preparatory event for The Emirates Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Gr1), four weeks later on the same course and 1-mile trip. However, if only Brametot (2017), Silver Frost (2009) and American Post (2004) have won both events in the last fifteen years, the winner of the classic had been several times beaten in the "Fontainebleau" before that!

A month later, their fitness has evolved, as has the ground, and the French 2,000 Guineas is always a hot race while in the prep race, planning is the word.

And for good reason: three of the 2019 edition runners will make their return on this occasion, including one of the two big favorites, Persian King (Kingman), winner of three consecutive races last year including the Masar Godolphin Autumn Stakes ( Gr3), while still wearing the silks of the Wildenstein family, represented by Ballymore Thoroughbred. He has since passed under the banner of the Godolphin team and will face his stablemate Epic Hero (Siyouni), author of a shattering comeback on the Chantilly all-weather track, where he won his maiden by eight lengths leaving a strong impression. Both are trained in Chantilly by André Fabre and are, on paper, the two horses to beat. The winner last year at the end of the season of Prix Isonomy (L) in Deauville, English raider Duke of Hazzard (Lope de Vega) will make his return. Trained by Paul Cole, he beat last year a colt, Art du Val, who has since easily won a good race in Dubai ... There is a potential challenger.

The Prix de la Grotte (Gr3) is the fillies version of the Prix de Fontainebleau, and nine 3-year-old fillies should gather at the start. Here again, it's a traditional route to the French Guineas with five doubles in the last fifteen years but none since 2012, and no placed in the "Grotte" to take revenge four weeks later.

Lily's Candle (Style Vendome) is the most successful of the lot since she won the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac (Gr1) last year on this course. She also changed ownership since as she began her career under for French owner Normandy Spirit before passing, against € 390,000, to US-based owner Martin Schwartz the day before the "Boussac", and was sold again two months later to the Japanese breeder-owner Katsumi Yoshida, this time for €1.1m, at the Arqana December Sale ... She was also transferred from Fabrice Vermeulen stables to those of Freddy Head.

The race is however very open with fillies whose actual potential has not been well assessed, and others that have been able to reach Group level but have not come back yet. With nine runners, the race could prove to be selective enough to make the ratings clearer.

Third classic prep race on the day, the Prix Noailles (Gr3) is run over an extended ten furlongs-trip, and it also brings together nine colts. The race is supposed to lead to either the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club (Gr1) or the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Gr1), or both. Second in the Prix François Mathet (L) for his seasonal return, at Saint-Cloud, the British raider Surrey Thunder (Le Havre) can climb another step. The competition seems to be relying on Syrtis (Frankel), second last year of the Prix de Condé (Gr3) for his second outing, Slalom (Intello), undefeated in two races last year, and Lone Peak (Lope de Vega), beaten for his second test by some ... Persian King!

Nice weather and good ground are expected on Sunday at ParisLongchamp.