Alain de Royer Dupre's Mandour will face five rivals at Chantilly on FridayPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Mandour out to uphold family honour in Guiche
Preview: France, Friday
Chantilly: Prix de Guiche (Group 3) 1m1f, 3yo colts
MANDOUR (Alain de Royer-Dupre/Christophe Lemaire) is the first offspring of Princess Zahra Aga Khan's brilliant Mandesha and, on the evidence of his two racecourse starts, he may have inherited a fair amount of his mother's talent.
Having chased home Kesampour on his debut at Saint-Cloud in October, the son of Smart Strike opened his account with far more in hand than the bare distance suggested when accounting for Mainsail and Grand Audition at Maisons-Laffitte last month.
"Mandesha was an exceptional filly and this horse has great acceleration, which is certainly something that his mother had," said Royer-Dupre, who trained Mandesha to land the Group 1 hat-trick of the Prix Astarte, Prix Vermeille and Prix de l'Opera.
"The horse has beenworking well and it will be an interesting test for him."
Mandour holds entries in the English, Irish and French Derbies, although Royer-Dupre told the Racing Post earlier this week he didn't expect to have a runner at Epsom.
There's little doubt that on what he's achieved on the racecourse, Sofast (Freddy Head/Olivier Peslier) has every right to be considered favourite for the Guiche, a trial for the Prix du Jockey Club which fell to Lawman in 2007 en route to Classic glory.
Having got closer than any other horse to Dabirsim last season in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagaredere, Sofast was outsprinted by both his old rivaland Dragon Pulse in the Prix de Fontainebleau, finishing two and a half lengths adrift of the principals at the end of a tactical affair.
"I'm very happy with him, he's in good form," said Freddy Head, who sends the Rock Of Gibraltar colt over further than 1m for the first time. "I think he'll stay, in fact I have no worries about the distance."
American Devil (Jon VanHandenhove/Stephane Pasquier) makes his seasonal debut and is interesting on some of his early season form as a two-year-old.
However, he is well-held by Sofast in the Lagardere and is the only runner not to have seen action this spring.
Saint Baudolino (Andre Fabre/Maxime Guyon) has progressed in three runs this term and, having broken his maiden at Longchamp over 1m2f, has been supplemented by connections.