Brilliant French Guineas hero Persian King returns at Chantilly after a year out
Persian King makes his long-awaited return to the track in the Listed Prix Montretout (3.10) at Chantilly on Wednesday, almost exactly a year after his last appearance.
Co-owned by the Wildenstein family's Ballymore Thoroughbreds and Godolphin, Persian King was a brilliant winner of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains last May but has not been seen since finishing second to Sottsass the following month in the Prix du Jockey Club.
Andre Fabre has found what looks the perfect comeback race for the son of Kingman, who is unpenalised for his Group 1 success and faces five rivals over a mile.
"He sustained a minor injury and we almost got him back at the end of the season but we just ran out of time," said Anthony Stroud, who manages the racing and bloodstock interests of Ballymore.
"He's such a big horse and we decided to give him time and get him right for this year. It's nice to be getting him on the racetrack."
Persian King posted an official rating of 117 last year and connections are viewing this as a stepping stone to bigger ambitions, with the Prix d'Ispahan on July 12 a potential target should all go well.
"He's been off the track a long time and I think he'll need it," said Stroud. "He's grown more and he carries a lot of weight so, while he's had a good preparation, he will definitely improve for the run."
Among his five rivals is Anodor, who beat Persian King when the pair made their debuts at Deauville in August 2018, as well as stablemate Magny Cours, himself restricted to just three starts last season.
Jockey Club and Diane hopefuls on trial
There may be only six runners declared for the Prix de Guiche (1.25) but, as the only Group-level trial for the Prix du Jockey Club scheduled to be run at Chantilly, there should be no shortage of interest.
Another Sky bids to bounce back from a below-par run last month in the Prix La Force, which came immediately after the restart when several of trainer Freddy Head's horses appeared to be a little undercooked.
Fabrice Chappet already has one trial winner to his name after Gold Trip scored in the Prix Greffulhe and has two more candidates here in San Fabrizio and Pisanello, a Listed winner over a mile in March.
Of the unbeaten runners, Irshad makes his seasonal reappearance for Mikel Delzangles, while the imposing Hurricane Cloud made a decent impression when scoring on his debut over a mile at Saint-Cloud last month.
The Prix Finlande (2.00) provides ten fillies with the chance to test their credentials over 1m1f of the Prix de Diane Longines course, with Moon A Lisa bidding to step up from a narrow defeat in a Listed race at Toulouse last month.
"She ran well first time up and has been in good form since," said Francis Graffard, who trains the daughter of Sea The Moon. "She was quite keen that day and so I'm quite happy to drop her back slightly in trip. Although she likes a bit of ease in the ground, I don't see the going as it is currently presenting her with a problem."
Galova is the most highly tried in the field and arguably sets the standard on the basis of her fourth place behind Magic Attitude in the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux.
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