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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Harris: Murphy the key as Just Glamorous goes for Group 3 prize

Trainer Ron Harris after Just Glamorous won the Prix du Petit Couvert at Chantilly in 2016
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2.00 Longchamp
Prix de Saint-Georges (Group 3) | 5f, 3yo+ | ATR/RUK

British hopes in this speed test appear to revolve around the Ron Harris-trained Just Glamorous and William Haggas's Muthmir, but their connections are hoping for completely different underfoot conditions.

Any rain will be music to the ears of Chepstow-based Harris as Just Glamorous appreciates plenty of cut in the ground, with the trainer saying: “The forecast is for rain and the more the better for our chance.

“He's come on a lot for his seasonal return at Newbury last month and he's entitled to improve for that effort as he had a well-deserved break over the winter.

“It’s great to have Oisin Murphy back in the saddle as he's won on him a couple of times.

“He has confidence in the horse’s high cruising speed, which some jockeys wouldn't, and they get on well as a result. Let’s not forget this horse was good enough to beat the very smart Marsha at Chantilly not so long ago, so is definitely not slow.”

Soft ground a worry

Conversely, Angus Gold, racing manager to Muthmir’s owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, would prefer ground conditions to be on the faster side for the eight-year-old, who will be making his first appearance since September.

Gold said: “He's in really good shape according to the trainer and we hope conditions don't get too soft as he's a fast-ground horse. If they get a lot of rain we might not run.”

The British contingent is completed by the Rae Guest-trained Mirza, who is now in the veteran stage at 11, although he has the invaluable assistance of Frankie Dettori in the saddle.

The home challenge is led by Group 1 winner Signs Of Blessing, who has won first time out in each of the past two years including when landing this contest when it was run at Deauville 12 months ago, and the Stephane Wattel-trained All-Weather Sprint Championship winner City Light, who tries the minimum distance for the first time on his first appearance since scoring at Lingfield.

Wattel said: "City Light did a really nice gallop on turf the other day. He's really gone up a level over the winter and my hope is that isn't just down to the all-weather.

"There aren't many races in France at around 1,200 metres at this time of the year. I looked at the Duke of York Stakes but that's really tough and what I want to find out by running here is whether he is a real sprinter."

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Let’s not forget this horse was good enough to beat the very smart Marsha at Chantilly not so long ago
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