Romanised and Circus Maximus the headliners for red-hot Prix du Moulin
Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (Group 1) | 3yo+ colts, horses, fillies & mares | 1m [Grande Piste] | Sky
There is something of a gladiatorial element to a highly-charged Prix du Moulin, with two of Ireland's best milers clashing in the amphitheatre that is Longchamp.
Romanised is the standard bearer for the older generation and arrives on the back of two wins, while Circus Maximus is the tribune of the three-year-olds.
Condon out for more Romanised glory
Romainsed proved himself far from a one-hit wonder when returning to the Group 1 winner's circle after more than a year in emphatic style at Deauville last month.
Not that his success in the Prix Jacques le Marois was anything like a bolt from the blue, following a stylish win at the Curragh over seven furlongs and a couple of genuinely high-class efforts in the Lockinge and the Queen Anne.
Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, who is racing manager to Robert Ng, was quick to pay tribute to the work of trainer Ken Condon and his staff.
"Ken’s done a great job to get him back to his best this year after his efforts in the Irish 2,000 Guineas last year probably told afterwards," said Pritchard-Gordon. "Mr Ng was always keen to race him as a four-year-old so we didn’t overdo it last year and that’s paid off.
"The same is true this year and with the idea of racing on at five, the owner is not keen to travel him to the Breeders’ Cup. Ken feels he’s still in good form, his skin looks great and it was worth having another go on good ground before he heads off for a nice winter break."
Circus Maximus back to a mile
Had Circus Maximus travelled here off the back of his two runs against Too Darn Hot – a courageous win in the St James's Palace Stakes followed by a half-length reverse in the Sussex Stakes – he would almost certainly be challenging his compatriot Romanised for favouritism.
In between times Circus Maxiums ran seventh in the Juddmonte International over an 1m2½f, though the son of Galileo comes here as perhaps the most proven of the three-year-olds in the line-up.
Aidan O'Brien won the Moulin in 2002 with Rock Of Gibraltar and the Niarchos family – in whose colours Circus Maximus runs and who share ownership with the Coolmore partners – can boast Miesque, Kingmambo and Spinning World among their five entries on the race's roll of honour.
Juddmonte's Frankel duo both on the up
Delaware and Obligate are two of the least exposed horses in the line-up when it comes to competing at Group 1 level.
It has taken a while for the penny to drop with Delaware but Andre Fabre's patience has been rewarded with marked improvement in each of his last two starts, both at Deauville.
The French handicapper judged Delaware's Listed success at the end of July a personal best by 11lb, while his subsequent four-length win in the Group 3 Prix Daphnis puts him very much on the premises at this level.
Vincent Cheminaud always had a prominent position and struck early in the straight, while Pierre-Charles Boudot has been even more positive aboard Obligate in her first three starts. However, he attempted more restrained tactics last time when losing her unbeaten tag but little in reputation behind Laurens and With You in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild.
With fewer stamina concerns back on a turning track, Pascal Bary may encourage Boudot to let Obligate stride on once again.
What the others say
Bruno Barbereau, racing manager to Gerard Augustin-Normand, co-owner of Olmedo
His win last time was over further than ideal and he came to win his race easily at the 400 metre [two furlong] mark, but needed the line in the end. He's in great form and has progressed for his run, while he has already shown he loves the track when winning the Poule d’Essai des Poulains. It’s a good field he’s up against but I think there will be pace on, which will suit him, and we expect him to run well.
Harry Dunlop, trainer of Robin Of Navan
It's obviously a tough race but he's in good form and he won a Group 2 well last time. We put cheekpieces on him which seemed to really get him focussing more. We're hopeful of a good run but it will be tough.
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Line Of Duty
We dropped Line Of Duty back to a mile for the Prix Jacques le Marois and he produced a very encouraging run to finish third. He came out of the race well and a repeat performance should make him competitive again. He prefers a bit of cut in the ground but seems to be enjoying his racing at the moment and returns to France in good order.
Charlie Hills, trainer of Phoenix Of Spain
His last couple of runs have been a bit head-scratching so we're back to the drawing board a little bit, but we can't find anything wrong with him. He's one of the top rated in the race so it looks a nice chance. We've been happy with him in the last few weeks.
Carlos Laffon-Parias, trainer of Shaman
He has been very consistent all year. Plenty of these ran against one another at Deauville and, while we were beaten fair and square and had no excuses, that doesn’t mean the finishing order will necessarily be the same. My horse knows his way around Longchamp and he was probably a bit keen last time on his first try over a straight mile in behind the lead horses, who didn’t go that fast. He has shown that, while he might not be clearly superior to his rivals, one day or another he can win his Group 1.
Newmarket juveniles in action
On the Longchamp undercard, Sir Mark Prescott sends Alpinista out against six rivals in the Prix d'Aumale (1.35), a major trial for the Prix Marcel Boussac.
"The filly disappointed us at Goodwood, where she got upset in the stalls and was never competitive," said Prescott. "We hope we've rectified the first problem and she will give a different display tomorrow. She travelled over well."
Godolphin's dual-winner Al Dabaran tries a mile for the first time in the Lagardere trial, the Prix des Chenes, following successes at Newmarket and Ascot (1.00)
Appleby said: "Al Dabaran brings a very progressive profile into this race and we feel that the step up to a mile will play to his strengths. Middle distances will be his forte next season and he looks to hold a leading chance."
For the freshest betting advice, based on latest going and market conditions, don't miss the Live Tipster every afternoon. Just click Raceday Live at racingpost.com or the mobile app