Sunday’s simulcast from France focuses on two of the country’s most historically established G1 prizes, albeit taking place at Chantilly this year rather than their usual Longchamp home.
Most of France’s top stables are represented with local opinion reckoning that Golden Valentine and Left Hand are the main players in the Prix Vermeille for fillies over 2400m whilst Zelzal and Vadamos hold plenty of cards in the Prix de Moulin over Chantilly’s 1600m.
Golden Valentine is a filly clearly on the up judging by her fluent victory in a G3 at Deauville last month whilst Left Hand, the confirmed mount of Maxime Guyon, also landed a Deauville G3. That was over just 2000m but her pedigree includes plenty of classy operators over the Vermeille distance.
“Of course you can never be certain until they’ve tried it but I’m pretty confident that she’ll stay,” said trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias earlier this week.
Yet another winner at Deauville’s August fiesta of racing was Highlands Queen whilst Candarliya – who has stamina in abundance - comes from the local stable of Alain de Royer-Dupre who can boast seven previous victories in the Vermeille.
Jean Claude Rouget is the trainer of the moment in France. Season by season he trains more winners than anyone else and now he is mopping up many of the big prizes as well.
And Rouget’s Zelzal could easily take the Moulin. Only defeated once - when racing far too freely - the three-year-old is a three-times course winner at Chantilly and was mighty impressive when victorious in the G1 Prix Jean Prat at the track last time.
Chief rival appears to be Vadamos, trained by arch rival Andre Fabre - the legend who has for so long dominated the high echelons of the French racing scene.
The horse is a tough five-year-old who often races close to the pace. Fabre has said that he believes Vadamos has a G1 prize in him, and he only narrowly missed out at the top level in Deauville’s prestigious Prix Jacques Le Marois last month.
Charles Hills sends Dutch Connection from the UK and the trainer has been begging for quickening ground for this talented colt. It looks as though his wish will be granted as, although the ground was riding on the easy side on Wednesday, very warm and dry conditions now prevail with the ground expected to ride good on Sunday.