Paco Boy to face Henrythenavigator in Moulin
PACO BOY, who delivered a Group 1 display in a Group 2 race when producing a massive personal best at Newbury last month, is to get his chance to shine against Europe's dominant miler on Sunday after being given the green light to tackle Henrythenavigator in the Prix du Moulin.
The Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old, whose only 2008 defeat came overthe Moulin course and distance in the French 2,000 Guineas, followed up a Glorious Goodwood victory with a dazzling defeat of Al Qasi in the Hungerford Stakes.
That effort signalled an imminent assault on a top-flight prize, and that assault will take place on Sunday, when Hannon also saddles progressive juvenile Soul City in the Prix laRochette.
Hannon said: "I am going to run Paco Boy in the Moulin and Soul City in the Rochette. Richard Hughes will be on both colts."
After Thursday's forfeit stage, 13 horses remained in the Qatar-sponsored Moulin, in which another British possible is the Mark Johnston-trained Lovelace, based this week at Chantilly following his victory inthe Group 2 Darley Oettingen-Rennen on Tuesday.
All the major candidates remain in the race, including Henrythenavigator and Ballydoyle stablemates Honoured Guest and King of Westphalia. Both Goldikova and Natagora will have pacemakers, while Alain de Royer-Dupre will saddle Sageburg and Darjina.
O'Brien on Thursday described himself happy with ground conditions for Henrythenavigator, but stressed that the quadruple Group 1 winner might not be risked should significant rain drastically alter the ground. Longchamp, which could receive showers over the weekend, on Thursday reported a good to soft racing surface.
O'Brien said: "We understandthe penetrometer reading at Longchamp is 3.2, which isn't bad.
"The plan is to run Henrythenavigator on Sunday, but we wouldn't want it to get really soft for him. It's basically thesame story we have with Duke Of Marmalade and the Leopardstown race. We'll be keeping the situation under review."
Soul City will have just five opponents in the Group 3 Prix La Rochette, one of them being the Johnston trained Jukebox Jury, who will be ridden by Johnny Murtagh.
There is also a British presence in the Group 3 Prix du Pin courtesy of Garnica from the David Nicholls yard and the ex-French Battle Paint, now trained by John Gosden.