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Planteur (right) eases past stablemate Board Meeting at Sha Tin on Thursday, December 9

Planteur (right): set to return to Longchamp on Sunday


Botti has Planteur primed for d'Ispahan

Preview: France, Sunday (2.40pm BST)

Longchamp: Prix d'Ispahan (Group 1) 1m1¼f, 4yo+ (2.40pm BST live on RUK)

THE weather in Paris has been so atrocious in recent weeks that one of the French capital's most popular daily newspapers devoted its front page story on Saturday to the negative effect the cold and rain is having on people's happiness.

With such a British obsession now apparently gripping the French psyche, the Newmarket-trained pair Planteur and Beauty Parlour arrive at Longchamp armed with Group 1 credentials and intent on inflicting more damage on already-fragile Gallic morale.

Trainer Marco Botti said of Planteur, who has won at the course three times already: "I couldn't be happier with him and he has been training very well and looks at his peak. I hope the ground isn't too soft as good to soft would be ideal. It's a tough race but he must have a very good shout."

Planteur was third in this race 12 months ago behind Golden Lilac (and was later promoted to second on the disqualification of Cirrus Des Aigles).

The son of Danehill Dancer turned in another high quality effort when third to Animal Kingdom in the Dubai World Cup on his most recent outing.

Like Planteur, Beauty Parlour was trained by Elie Lellouche when in France, but returns with a differing profile.

Winner of  the Poule d'Essai in 2012, Beauty Parlour skipped last Saturday's intended reappearance in the Lockinge because of the quick ground and will face no such terrors on a sodden Grande Piste.

The fact remains that her only start since leaving Lellouche for Sir Henry Cecil was an eminently forgettable performance in the Sun Chariot Stakes last September.

With the defection on Saturday of last season's Prix du Jockey Club hero Saonois, there are no Group 1 winners among the home defence, with only Mandour and Sofast left to represent the classic crop of 2012.

Maxios and Don Bosco are still improving at the ages of five and six respectively, while if the rain continues to fall and conditions deteriorate further from the forecast very soft, only the connections of the eight-year-old Zinabaa will be truly happy.

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