Back in 2019: Persian King and Castle Lady on their way up, Slalom between two paths

12 April 2020

Back in 2019: Persian King and Castle Lady on their way up, Slalom between two paths


Sunday, April 14, 2019, ParisLongchamp. – Three major classic trials were on the card this Sunday at ParisLongchamp.

Persian King (Kingman) raised his winning score to four for his return on the Grande Piste mile in the Prix de Fontainebleau (Gr3). On this occasion, the Wildenstein family-bred 3-year-old, who is now also racing for Godolphin, dominated from start to finish in a very prominent style and left his stablemate Epic Hero (Siyouni) five lengths behind, just keeping the second place with a head to spare over British challenger Duke of Hazzard (Lope de Vega).

Persian King’s connections now have the opportunity to compete in any of the two first seasonal classics, either the Two Thousand Guineas (Gr1) at Newmarket in 20 days or The Emirates Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Gr1), in 28 days at ParisLongchamp.

The athletic bay ran last year for his breeders Ballymore Thoroughbred. His sister by Australia was withdrawn from the Tattersalls October sales in October. His older maiden sister Pretty Spirit (Invincible Spirit), was sold € 150,000 last December at Arqana.

It is an outstanding bloodline. Pretty Please (Dylan Thomas), the dam of Persian King, won only one race for the Wildensteins, for her debut in April at 3, but she is nonetheless a sister to the sire Planteur, from the same family that the one of Policy Maker (Sadler's Wells) and, further down, Arc winner Peintre Célèbre (Nureyev).

Castle Lady (Shamardal), a representative of the Godolphin team, just like Persian King in the Colts' race, was running for the second time in her career, a month after her victorious debut, but she prevailed all the same in the Prix de la Grotte (Gr3).

Trained by Henri-Alex Pantall, she left the English raider Imperial Charm (Dubawi) take the lead from the beginning, flanked by Epistrophy (Charm Spirit), trained in Chantilly by Japanese handler Satoshi Kobayashi, whom she followed all the way to the last straight.

The favourite Lily's Candle (Style Vendome), the only Group 1 winner in the race, was getting close by the field but the leaders took off again in the final straight and offbeat, only Castle Lady was able to catch and pass them. She even took them close to two lengths while Imperial Charm and Epistrophy remained respectively second and third, separated by a length, just in front of a closing Cala Tarida (Garswood).

Note that the fillies completed their mile in 1'38''39, while Persian King crossed the pole after 1'36''42.

Castle Lady is not entered in The Emirates Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (Gr1), but it has now become a quote on her agenda. She is the second foal out of Windsor County (Elusive Quality) after Top Score (Hard Spun), 2nd to Limato in a Listed 6f event at Newmarket.

Castle Lady's 2nd dam Ascutney (Lord at War) gave Raven’s Pass (Elusive Quality), winner of the Breeders’Cup Classic (Gr1) and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Gr1) for Princess Haya of Jordan…

The first classic trial of the season with a view on either or both the QIPCO Jockey Club (Gr1) and the Juddmonte Grand Prix of Paris (Gr1), the Prix Noailles (Gr3) takes place on the 2,100 m/10 1/2f trip of the Grande Piste in ParisLongchamp. Long-held in last, the returning Slalom (Intello) placed a lightning acceleration that allowed him to take two and a half lengths on his stablemate, Syrtis (Frankel), who had already taken over the rest of the field. English raider Surrey Thunder (Le Havre), beaten by a nose for his return in the Prix François Mathet (L) at Saint-Cloud on the same distance, finished third this time.

Slalom was bred by Wertheimer & Frère, his owners. He was already undefeated in two races last year and made his comeback here. He is entered in the Prix Greffulhe (Gr2), the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club (Gr1) and the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Gr1).
His elder brother Folamour (Intello) has just won the Prix de la Porte de Madrid (L) for his return and finished fourth in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Gr1) last year. Slalom is the fifth foal out of Zagzig (Selkirk), who won over 2,100m at Senonnes for her third trial and then took several places in good handicaps for trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias. The elder sister of Folamour and Slalom, Concertista (Nathaniel) was sold € 75,000 at Arqana 2017 Summer sale. They are brothers and sisters to Empreinte (Footstepsinthesand), third in the Prix du Bois (Gr3) at 2, but winner only at the Croisé-Laroche for her debut and then at Le Mans over 1,400m/7f. Speciale (Oasis Dream) is the youngest, born in 2018.

Zagzig is out of Danzigaway (Danehill), herself a sister to the sire Gold Away who gave Silent Name (Sunday Silence) and Galiway (Galileo), two Group-level performers.

And then …

The two winners of the French Guineas trials also won three weeks later in their respective division. Persian King followed up with the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club (Gr1), of which he finished second, beaten by Sottsass. It would be his last outing of the year but he is still in training with André Fabre. His 3yo Australia sister, named Petite Folie, was unplaced for her debut on the Chantilly all-weather track in early March but she is entered in both the Saint-Alary and the Diane.

Castle Lady was supplemented in The Emirates Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (Gr1), and she won by a nose despite her relative inexperience. It is rather unusual to see a filly winning this classic without a run at 2. Still, Alex Pantall trained her on and Castle Lady took 5th place in the Coronation Stakes (Gr1) at Royal Ascot, and then did not run for nearly four months. She came back at Keeneland, in Kentucky, to take second place in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (Gr1) before failing for her last race in the Breeders’Cup. Her 2yo brother Eton College, won his maiden at Brighton and a nursery Handicap at Ascot. However, he was gelded at the end of his first season and is now 3.

The Grotte-second Imperial Charm, although trained by Simon Crisford at Newmarket, ran five times in France in 2019. She thus earned € 93,000 before ending her season with a fourth place in the E P Taylor (Gr1) at Woodbine, Ontario, two lengths behind the third-placed, the French-trained Platane …

Slalom was at one point tipped for the Epsom Derby. However, his connections elected to go for the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club, where he finished twelfth without having a chance, but he took second place afterwards in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Gr1) won by Japan. He has not been trained since September. His dam gave an Anodin colt in 2019. As for Concertista, Slalom's sister, she won the Dawn Run Novices' Hurdle (Gr2) at the Cheltenham Festival for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, trained by Willie Mullins.