Thunder Snow bids to join Godolphin royalty in select line-up
Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard - Jacques le Marois (Group 1) | 3yo+ colts & fillies | 1m Turf (straight) | RUK
Saeed Bin Suroor's name appears four times on the role of honour for this, one of Europe's enduring summit clashes over a mile.
With both Dubai Millennium and his son Dubawi figuring among Bin Suroor's past winners, Thunder Snow now bids to follow in the wake of some truly illustrious predecessors.
Christophe Soumillon remains loyal to the colt who has brought him two Group 1 successes – both in France – and his mount already has a verdict over reopposing rivals Trais Fluors and Gold Luck from last month's Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.
"Thunder Snow won well last time in France and came out of that race in good order," said Bin Suroor. "This will be a tougher race for him but he has a lot of class. His last piece of work went very well and I'm hoping for another good result."
Fabre presents three-strong threat
Al Wukair has yet to fulfil the hopes placed in him at the beginning of the season, though his third-placed effort behind Churchill and Barney Roy in the 2,000 Guineas entitles him to plenty of respect.
Having missed the Prix du Jockey Club with a minor setback, Al Wukair was reported to be rusty by Frankie Dettori when never landing a blow on the reopposing Taareef when second in the Prix Messidor at Maisons-Laffitte last month.
"The softish ground will really help him I think. He's shown his class over a mile and, while I still think he'll be more effective over a mile and a quarter, this race comes at the right time."
Trais Fluors lost his unbeaten record when set plenty to do behind Thunder Snow at Chantilly and then missed an intended confidence-booster in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes on account of the Goodwood monsoon.
Fabre continued: "The ground should be okay for Trais Fluors and Goodwood was really something else. I expect him to be closer to Thunder Snow than last time. The winner was superior but he also got first run and I'm quite confident about my horse."
The Fabre team is completed by Inns Of Court, who is far from a third string and who has won easily at Group 3 level over 7f on his two starts since an unfortunate experience in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains here in May.
"The race was a non-event for Inns Of Court because the saddle slipped up his neck so he had no chance," explained Fabre.
"Since then he's recovered well and we'll see if he's as effective over a mile. I've a slight doubt about the distance and he'll need to settle well."
Rouget and Head bolster home defence
Since then he has developed the happy knack of toppling big reputations, with Zarak, Zelzal and Al Wukair among his conquests.
"He's done everything right so far this year and I was impressed with him the other day," said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum.
"Obviously they feel Al Wukair has improved and he's looked a very good horse, having perhaps been unlucky in the Guineas. Taareef is American-bred so I wouldn't want it to go too soft but Jean-Claude is happy with him."
The field is completed by Gold Luck, sister to Goldikova and third behind Thunder Snow and Trais Fluors last time.
"It's not an easy race but Gold Luck is very well and perhaps better since her last run," said trainer Freddy Head.
"We'll see if she can get among the places and you never know. I don't see the ground being a problem."
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