All systems go for French Guineas despite Soumillon criticism
France Galop came in for plenty of heat last Sunday when Christophe Soumillon and Alain de Royer-Dupre criticised the state of the turf at Longchamp, which they claimed was dangerously full of unrepaired divots.
After weeks of bottomless ground the weather turned much warmer last week and the going dried quicker than anticipated to leave a less than ideal surface, one which forced officials to issue a stern defence of the care given to the track.
Since then there has been intensive preparation of the ground for the Poule d'Essai des Poulains and the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches fixture, with watering and rolling at the start of the week and the attentions of three of the organisation’s most experienced course officials to ensure everything is back in order for Sunday, with racing taking place with the rail at its innermost setting for only the second time this year.
Preparations have not been helped by a difficult forecast for raceday with showers around which might drop up to 10mm of rain.
Whatever reassurances have been offered in private seem to have convinced the right people, with Soumillon riding in both Classics and Rouget running Mission Impossible in the Poulains, while Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden also have runners in the Poulains.
The ground is predicted to be just on the slow side of good, with a penetrometer reading of 3.3 expected.
Freddy Head summed up his thoughts on the situation by saying: “Longchamp has always been the best track in France and that remains the case today.”
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