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Jean Claude Rouget

Jean-Claude Rouget: trains dual Group winner Morandi

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Exciting Morandi returns in Prix de Fontainebleau

Preview: France, Sunday (3.15pm BST)

Longhchamp: Prix de Fontainebleau (Group 3) 1m, 3yo colts

The first cracks appeared in France's champion two-year-old Dabirsim 12 months ago when beaten in this race by Dragon Pulse, so connections of his successor Morandi will be taking nothing for granted.

It is less his place in the rankings (Morandi was rated 10lb inferior to European Champion juvenile Dawn Approach) and more the way he demolished two Group-race line-ups late in the year which will have kept trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and owner Daniel-Yves Treves wishing the winter away.

The second of those was on heavy ground over 1m2f, but connections don't anticipate a problem with dropping back in distance with the Holy Roman Emperor colt.

Rouget has a decent second string in the shape of Courcy, who must transform his useful all-weather form to the Longchamp turf.

US Law proved no match for Jim Bolger's Loch Garman in the Group 1 Criterium International, although Pascal Bary's inmate did finish in front of last weekend's smart Group 3 winner Triple Threat.

Pilote represents the Wertheimer brothers and is entitled to improve having chased home the highly-rated Mutin last month at Saint-Cloud under a considerate ride.

What They Say

Jean-Claude Rouget, trainer of Courcy and Morandi

"Courcy is a good horse and this will be a test for him. Morandi has come to himself in the last month or so. Although he won over 2000m (1m2f) on heavy ground, I remain convinced that he has the action of a horse with a lot of speed. Above all he's a very easy horse to handle with a good temperament."

Pascal Bary, trainer of US Law

"He had a tiny problem which stopped him running in the Djebel but he's over that and looks well. I think he ran his race in the Criterium, he's a good colt."

Henri-Alex Pantall, trainer of Princedargent

"He gave a good account of himself in a Listed race at Saint-Cloud having won his comeback at Lyon. The trip will suit him but he'll need to relax a little as I think he started racing a little too soon last time."

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