Advantage Fabre in the search for rivals to Enable and Sea Of Class
Record holder could run four after dominating Longchamp trials card
A dozen years after the most recent of his extraordinary catalogue of seven victories in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Andre Fabre looks likely to be well represented in his quest for an eighth after all his triallists came through Longchamp's traditional day of rehearsals in rude health.
Prix Foy winner Waldgeist was the one to impress bookmakers most on Sunday, with Betfair Sportsbook going 8-1 (from 25) for the Arc on October 7. Only BoyleSports and Ladbrokes were prepared to go as big as 12-1.
Godolphin duo Talismanic and Cloth Of Stars also did more than enough in the Foy to satisfy Fabre in filling out the placings in what became a private gallop for the trainer in the closing stages.
Kitesurf, another Fabre runner and Godolphin horse, is also under consideration for Europe's richest race, earning quotes of 16-1 after running down Magic Wand in the day's major prize, the Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille.
On a successful day for Godolphin, Charlie Appleby got in on the act, with Brundtland making it three wins from as many starts in the Prix Niel.
Waldgeist: first among equals?
Fabre has made a habit of farming the Niel with his three-year-old colts, but it is the older brigade who will shoulder the burden in three weeks' time, after Pierre-Charles Boudot brought Waldgeist from well back in the Foy to pass Talismanic and Cloth Of Stars in the straight for an impressive two-and-a-half-length success.
This trial has traditionally fallen prey to a pedestrian pace but Yutaka Take gave some meaning to the test when taking Clincher to the front, although none of his five pursuers were put under undue pressure at any stage.
Waldgeist was making his first start since edging out Coronet by a nose in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at the start of July.
Neither Mickael Barzalona aboard Talismanic nor Vincent Cheminaud on Cloth Of Stars made too much of a fight of it, leaving Fabre pleased.
"It wasn’t too hard a race and was ideal," said Fabre. "All three ran well and probably all three will run in the Arc."
Boudot added: "It was good the race was run at a nice even gallop and Waldgeist certainly picked up well when I asked him to gradually accelerate.
"I got to Talismanic quite easily and then got a little more serious with my horse. There will be very good horses in opposition next month but the preparation has gone well, which is important."
Capri, making his first start since April, kept Clincher honest before getting tired in the straight, finishing six and a half lengths back in fifth.
Japanese hopes of a first Arc victory look to have been dealt a serious blow after Clincher finished last of the six, with trainer Hiroshi Miyamoto admitting his colt would be greatly helped by a change in the weather, after being tapped for toe in the straight.
"The ground was probably too quick for him but he adapted well to the profile of the track and Yutaka looked after him in the straight," said Miyamoto.
"We'd definitely prefer rain before the Arc but you have to respect the horses he ran against today from Monsieur Fabre's stable."
Kitesurf could also be Arc-bound
Magic Wand ran right back up to the level she showed when running away from her field in the Ribblesdale at Ascot in June but was just unable to repel Kitesurf.
With a Group 1 on the line and only two of the eight runners engaged in the Arc, the Vermeille was run at a more sustained gallop than the Foy or Niel, which played into the hands of the two principals waiting towards the rear.
Wayne Lordan looked to have made the decisive move when steering Magic Wand into the wide expanse of the open stretch cutaway but Barzalona conjured some tune out of Kitesurf, who got home by a head.
She holds entries in the Arc and Prix de l'Opera, as well as the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot later in October.
The daughter of Dubawi has made fine progress from three to four, having spent the off season in Newmarket.
Fabre said: "She has a big frame and was backward. The winter break helped her and now she's going very well. The Arc is an option and I'll speak with the owner."
Two and a half lengths behind was Zarkamiya, who completed a piece of family history in finishing third in the race her dam Zarkava won in remarkable style a decade ago.
As for Magic Wand – who isn't yet entered in the Arc – this was a big step forward after disappointing in the Irish Oaks when clearly under the weather and then running fifth behind Sea Of Class in the Yorkshire Oaks.
"She usually goes along in front but we took our time today and she enjoyed herself and relaxed," said Lordan. "She quickened up well and put her head down going to the line but we were just nabbed."
Brundtland continues Appleby run
Brundtland, by far the least experienced among the six to line up for the Qatar Prix Niel, showed a huge amount of determination in making all under James Doyle, fighting off the luckless Lordan and Hunting Horn by a short head.
"It was a pretty good effort on only his third run and he's had to catch on pretty quickly," said Doyle. "He's been working very well with the likes of Old Persian and Loxley and he's definitely going the right way."
Asked whether he would be reporting back to Appleby that a supplementary for the Arc might come under consideration, Doyle was realistic in his assessment.
"Having ridden Sea Of Class, Poet's Word, those kinds of horses, at this stage it might be a bit strong for him, but we'll see what Charlie wants to do. The horse can't do any more than be unbeaten, can he?"
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