PREVIEW: PRIX NIEL, Sunday
Vision d'Etat “may well need the run” says Libaud
3.00pm Longchamp : Prix Niel (3yo Group 2) 1m4f
live on ATR
RAIL LINK, Hurricane Run, Dalakhani, Sinndar, Montjeu: no race has a record like the Prix Niel when it comes to producing Arc winners and Sunday's Qatar-sponsored race features the reappearance of Prix du Jockey-Club winner Vision d'Etat.
The Eric Libaud-trained colt reappears after a break of over three months as he bids to stretch his unbeaten record to six under Ioritz Mendizabal, who leads the French jockeys' standings.
Andre Fabre, looking for his eighth Arc winner, saddles a strong-looking pair in Prospect Wells and Ideal World.
Prospect Wells met trouble in running behind Vision d'Etat when quietly fancied for the French Derby before chasing home the now sidelined Montmartre in the Grad Prix de Paris, while his stablemate is a progressive colt in the Abdullah colours.
Connections ofCentennial, impressive in the Great Voltigeur, took the decision for the colt to bypass the St Leger in favour of this.
City Leader has been placed in French Group races this summer, while Ballydoyle is represented by King Of Rome, making a quick return after finishing last in the Irish Champion Stakes.
What they say :
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khalid Abdullah, owner of Ideal World
"He's trying a mile and a half for the first time which helooks like he might enjoy. He is a son of Banks Hill and he's a progressive horse – it's another step up in class and we are hopeful he will run a decent race."
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of King of Rome
"We were disappointed with his run in the Irish Champion Stakes and don't quite know the reason. It was possibly the soft ground as he is a colt with a lovely action."
Eric Libaud, trainer of Vision d'Etat
"I think he will stay a mile and a half for the first time and act at Longchamp. We will give him an economical ride but he may well need the race as he hasn't been out for three and a half months and there are fitter horses in the race. That will be a little disadvantage and I would prefer just a little more rain. But the colt is pleasing me and should give a good account of himself."
Criquette Head-Maarek, trainer of Full Of Gold
"He choked in the Jockey-Club and we operated on him for a soft palate afterwards. He is fine and looks well but it will be a tough race. I am running him to see what he does and I also want to see how he handles the distance. He has been working really well and we will keep our fingers crossed."
John Gosden, trainer of Centennial
"He won the Voltigeur in very good style and we were attracted to the Niel as there are very few Group 2 races with no penalties. When he ran below expectations in the Grand Prix de Paris, the ground was too quick – but everything was outclassed by the winner."
Brian Meehan, trainer of City Leader
"I'm very happy with him and although a third visit to France in as many runs could be a concern, he is in great shape and is improving."
Pierre Yves-Bureau, racing manager to the Wertheimer brothers, owners of Prospect Wells
"He's very well and it was always the plan to give him a break after the Grand Prix as there wasn't really any race for him. He's had no problems and we are looking forward to Sunday."
PREVIEW: PRIX NIEL, Sunday