Prix Marcel Boussac heroine Silasol is proven in testing conditionsPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Silasol set to revel in Longchamp battle
Preview: France, Sunday (1.30pm BST)
Longchamp: Pour Moi Coolmore - Prix Saint-Alary (Group 1) 1m2f, 3yo fillies
ON a day when ability to handle testing conditions is likely to count for an awful lot, the only two fillies to have won at Group level both have proven ability on heavy ground.
Carlos Laffon-Parias is represented by Prix Marcel Boussac heroine Silasol (Olivier Peslier) and surprise Prix Penelope winner Ferevia (Thierry Thulliez).
Her comeback second behind Esoterique looks all the better for that filly's effort when runner-up in the Poule d'Essai, although trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias will hope Silasol can settle better now she's blown away the cobwebs.
"She's by Monsun and it was very holding when she won the Group 1 last October so I've no worries about the ground," reasoned Laffon-Parias, who has the Prix de Diane in his sights in three weeks time.
As for Ferevia, who could only manage fifth in the Prix Hocquart last time out, a supplementary fee of €15,000 suggests optimism that there could still be more to come.
"Olivier [Peslier] looked after her against the colts last time and she loves heavy ground," said the the Spanish-born trainer.
Six of the last seven winners have been trained by either Jean-Claude Rouget or Alain de Royer-Dupre and both men saddle fascinating runners.
The Rouget candidate Alterite (Christophe Soumillon) finished just a neck behind Silasol in the Boussac but must bounce back from a disappointing performance in the Pouliches.
The Aga Khan's Siyouni and Siyouma both scored at the highest level and Royer-Dupre made no secret of how highly he regards little sister Siyenica (Christophe Lemaire) when she breezed to success on her only start in April. However, her trainer won't risk her on heavy ground.
More impeccable breeding is on display with Chantilly maiden winner Artiste Divine (Andre Fabre/Pierre-Charles Boudot), which may be a name the Wildenstein family have been sitting on for sometime for the product of two of their greatest champions, Peintre Celebre and Aquarelliste.
Fabre's second challenger Alumna (Maxime Guyon) also takes a big step up in class, having earned the comment "won in brilliant style" on the second of her two wins to date.
Izola (Freddy Head/Thierry Jarnet) took four runs to get her head in front but appeared to relish the extra yardage when winning by four lengths at Maisons-Laffitte last time.
"She did well over 1800m (1m1f) last time and she's made good progress," Head reported. "It's an open-looking race, with no back numbers and probably nothing to be really frightened of either."
Also on Sunday
Longchamp: Prix Vicomtesse Vigier (Group 2) 1m7½f, 4yo+ [3.10pm BST].
Four of the six engaged contested the Prix de Barbeville, with Last Train (Andre Fabre/Maxime Guyon) just getting the better of Verema (Alain de Royer-Dupre/Christophe Lemaire).
That was on good ground and with a far softer surface in prospect, a different result is highly likely.
Royer-Dupre has already taken out Ivory Land and will check course conditions before giving the go-ahead to Verema.
The Chantilly-handler will certainly allow Shahwardi (Antoine Hamelin) to take his chance despite not having his ideal ground.
A revelatory 2012 campaign was topped off with Group 2 success in Caulfield's Herbert Power Stakes.
Royer-Dupre said: "Shawardi is making his comeback with an eye to the Gold Cup. He's really a good ground horse but as it's his first race back I'm not too worried."
Barbeville fifth Les Beaufs (Valerie Seignoux/Julien Guillochon) is far more likely to appreciate the underfoot conditions.
"He's still got his Group 1 penalty but, against that, the ground will certainly suit him," explained Seignoux.
Domeside (Mauricio Delcher-Sanchez/Christophe Soumillon), less than half a length away in the Barbeville and clearly progressing at a rate of knots, was supplemented on Thursday.