Pour Moi won the Prix Greffulhe last year en route to the Investec DerbyPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Kesampour follows Pour Moi route towards Derby
Preview: France, Saturday (4.50pmBST)
Saint-Cloud: Prix Greffulhe (Group 2) 1m2f, 3yo colts & fillies
WHILE the Qipco 2,000 Guineas is often said to be the best trial for the Investec Derby, the race which provided last year's Epsom hero Pour Moi is run less than two hours after the Newmarket Classic this year.
Kesampour (Mikel Delzangles/Christophe-Patrice Lemaire) is the only one of the six runners currently engaged in the Derby, having been added at a cost of £8,000 at the second entry stage following his stylish all-the-way win in the Listed Prix Francois Mathet at Saint-Cloud last month.
The Aga Khan's son of King's Best has made all on both his previous starts, but will have the services of Shalamzar (Thomas Huet) to make the pace for him.
Saonois (Jean-Pierre Gauvin/Antoine Hamelin) has already knocked off one fancied rival from a more fashionable yard when outstaying the Rouget-trained Beauvoir in the Prix La Force.
Before that he showed his ability running left-handed when landing the Listed Prix Policeman at Cagnes-sur-Mer by four lengths.
First Date and Albion both come here off the back of maiden wins at Longchamp, having started life finishing third and fourth in the same newcomers' race at Maisons-Laffitte last September.
First Date (Pascal Bary/Thierry Thulliez) broke his maiden at the third attempt last month when beating Saint Baudolino by two and a half lengths at Longchamp, with the second subsequently winning a similar race impressively.
Albion (Andre Fabre/Pierre-Charles Boudot) also broke his duck at Longchamp on his return to action in a better-class conditions race, and is out of owner/breeder Kirsten Rausing's dual Champion Stakes winner Alborada.
Finally Eldandy (Carlos Laffon-Parias/Anthony Crastus) has been supplemented for the race and should appreciate the step up in trip after finishing second to another Fabre inmate Bolingbroke at Maisons-Laffitte.
What They Say
Pascal Bary, trainer of First Date
"He's made good physical progress since last year andhe's improved for running over further. I don't think it gets as soft at Saint-Cloud as we've had recently at Longchamp but I think he handles soft ground anyway."
Mikel Delzangles, trainer of Kesampour and Shalamzar
"We know he likes the track and he'll be fine on soft ground. He's up against different rivals this time and it's difficult to judge the relative form. Shalamzar will ensure there is no false pace and that Kesampour doesn't have to make it like he has done in the past."
Andre Fabre, trainer of Albion
"He hasn't achieved anything yet. I'm running him because it's the natural step, not because of his work at home."
Jean-Pierre Gauvin, trainer of Saonois
"I don't expect him to have come on a lot from Longchamp, because he was already very fit from running over the winter. The question was whether to run here or keep him fresh for the Prix du Jockey Club but he seems to have taken his race well. I'm pleased there is a pacemaker because there wasn't any gallop in the Prix La Force and he pulled a little bit for Antoine."