Fabre gives Persian King's Guineas backers a glimmer of hope after trial win
Persian King could yet emerge as a key player in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas after delighting connections with a five-length victory stroll on his seasonal reappearance in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainbleau here at Longchamp.
Trainer Andre Fabre has urged caution this spring about the chances of Persian King returning to the venue of his Autumn Stakes success to tackle Too Darn Hot and company but, having witnessed a near-flawless performance in clearing away from stablemate Epic Hero, he refused to rule out the Newmarket option.
With Godolphin and the Wildenstein family's Ballymore Thoroughbreds sharing ownership of the imposing son of Kingman, there will be plenty of discussion in the coming days, with events at the Craven Meeting also likely to play a role in the final decision.
Fabre said: "I was delighted, it couldn't have gone better. Everything went well and he had a good blow. He'll definitely come on for that."
#ParisLongchamp #Galop— Equidia (@equidia) April 14, 2019
Terrible impression laissée par Persian King (@PCBOUDOT - A. Fabre). Il n'a laissé aucune chance à ses rivaux en remportant le Prix de Fontainebleau (Gr.III) de toute une classe. Epic Hero (A. Fabre) est 2ème devant Duke of Hazzard. pic.twitter.com/NLo1sIj2Il
Bookmakers had allowed Persian King to hover around the 16-1 mark following earlier bulletins suggesting the Poule d'Essai des Poulains was the preferred option, but his price was halved with Paddy Power, while 10-1 is the best price available with four firms.
With Too Darn Hot having been forced to miss his intended prep at Newbury after showing signs of heat in a splint bone, the Guineas has taken on a more open look, while the Persian King camp will also be paying close attention to Wednesday's bet365 Craven Stakes, which could feature both Zakouski and Royal Marine in the blue of Godolphin.
Asked if events on the Rowley Mile would play a role in the decision, Fabre said: "Exactly, and the ground will be an important factor. Imagine if it were to start to rain here, then I would rather go to Newmarket. We'll see what happens in the coming days, but it's not impossible he'll go to Newmarket, it's an option."
Later in the afternoon Fabre saddled the one-two in the Group 3 Prix Noailles, with Wertheimer et Frere's Slalom passing the entire field to run down stablemate Syrtis under Maxime Guyon.
The Qipco Prix du Jockey Club looks an obvious target for the son of Intello, but Fabre offered a hint that he might be thinking further afield for Slalom, who is now three from three.
"I was thinking he's the type for Epsom," said Fabre. "We'll have to discuss it with the owners because he's not entered, but maybe he should go to England for a trial, we'll see. There are so many non-stayers in any generation."
Surrey Thunder gave his large band of travelling supporters plenty to cheer about when running all the way to the line in third under Oisin Murphy for trainer Joe Tuite.
"He wouldn't want the ground any livelier but I'm delighted because he finished very strongly and I think he's probably run a couple of pounds above what he did last time," said Tuite.
Castle Lady makes great leap forward
Godolphin completed a clean sweep of the trials for the Poules d'Essai as Castle Lady, a once-raced daughter of Shamardal, showed an impressive turn of foot to run down more experienced rivals in the the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte.
"Castle Lady has the physique to make a very good filly and I think she'll progress again from that," said trainer Alex Pantall. "The Poule d'Essai des Pouliches is obviously something we'll look at, although she would need to be supplemented so nothing has yet been decided."
Simon Crisford's decision to send Newmarket maiden winner Imperial Charm to Longchamp for a first try at stakes level was vindicated as she held the rest of the field at bay to claim second.
"She probably wants a little bit more ease in the ground, but we're really pleased with that as a seasonal return," said Crisford's son and assistant, Charles.
"We'll speak to the owner, but if there's a bit of cut forecast for one of these Classics, I'm sure he'll want to take his chance."
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