Cirrus Des Aigles: will arguably be better judged on the very soft goingPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Cirrus bids to recapture form over straight course
Preview: France, Friday (2.20pm)
Maisons-Laffitte: La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte (Group 3) 1m2f, 3yo+
CORINE BARANDE-BARBE goes in search of something different in her quest to return Cirrus Des Aigles to full fighting fitness.
The three-time Group 1 winner has yet to hit the heights of seasons past in four starts so far this year and will be running over a straight course for the first time since his juvenile campaign.
"I think he might have fun running on a straight track after all this time," said Barande-Barbe. "He ran well over that kind of course at two although of course he wasn't the horse then that he's become."
One plausible concern about the seven-year-old's performances so far this year have been that Cirrus Des Aigles has raced on nothing worse than good to soft and so his current level of form will arguably be better judged on Friday's very soft going.
Barande-Barbe continued: "He's happy and I think he's still progressing from race to race so, with the soft ground as well, I'm expecting a good performance. He always improves for a run so there's still a bit to come for the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend."
Christophe Soumillon is once again aboard Cirrus Des Aigles, with Olivier Peslier retained to ride the only three-year-old in the line-up, the Wertheimer brothers' Pilote.
The son of Pivotal has run two excellent races in defeat since winning here on the round course in June, although neither of his conquerors did much for the form in last Sunday's Prix Niel.
The Niarchos colours were successful in this race 12 months ago courtesy of subsequent Prix d'Ispahan and Prix du Moulin hero Maxios.
Stephane Pasquier will be hoping to retain La Coupe for the Niarchos family on the Pascal Bary-trained Smoking Sun, who has the Prix Dollar as his main aim in 15 days' time.
La Coupe betting
Paddy Power: 11-8 Cirrus Des Aigles, 13-8 Pilote, 13-2 Grace Lady, Smoking Sun, 14-1 bar