Aidan O'Brien: 'Kyprios is a good-moving horse, so hopefully it's not too soft'
Saturday: 3.25 Longchamp
Qatar Prix du Cadran (Group 1) | 2m4f | 4yo+ | Sky
It might only be against the Olympian standards that he attains everywhere else that Aidan O'Brien's career record at Longchamp might be measured as merely ordinary.
But the fact remains that the Prix du Cadran is a relatively rare Group 1 not to feature on his roll of honour.
O'Brien has only run five horses in France's staying championship and none since 2009, though it should be borne in mind that Yeats was beaten here on three occasions.
What can be said with some certainty is that other than the two-and-a-half mile trip and the right-handed track, there is more that separates the Cadran from the Gold Cup than unites the two races, with the ground and the pace often very different to Ascot in June.
Kyprios is 3lb clear of Quickthorn on official ratings and has a further 4lb up his sleeve over Tashkhan, who he beat by five lengths in the Gold Cup.
Brian Ellison's talented performer has his ground for the first time since Champions Day last October and it will be a surprise if he can't at least close that gap.
Quickthorn has improved throughout the season and is now a very hard horse to pass, while his tactical versatility could be a big advantage to Tom Marquand.
Princess Zoe won this race two years ago and has arguably been paying the price through the season for her hard-fought defeat of Quickthorn in the Sagaro Stakes on good to firm ground.
While the rain will help her cause, she might need it to become properly heavy before things really turn her way.
Skazino has ben gradually returning to form while Goya Senora has improved beyond all recognition, but arguably the most metronomically reliable of the home team is Joie De Soir, who doesn't win very often but nearly always runs her race.
Kyprios out to land first Cadran for O'Brien
Kyprios bids to succeed where the mighty Yeats failed three times and Moyglare and Coolmore's beautifully bred four-year-old arrives here on the crest of a wave, having gone unbeaten in five starts this season.
On Friday O'Brien seemed relatively unconcerned about the wear and tear of a campaign that started with the Vintage Crop Stakes is April, though he was open about the fact that very soft ground would demand very different qualities than those on display at Ascot, Goodwood and the Curragh.
"He seems to have come out of the Irish St Leger very well," said O'Brien. "It might be the softest ground he's run on for a while, although he did run on heavy as a two-year-old.
"He's a good-moving horse though, so hopefully it's not too soft. He's a lovely, kind, straightforward, honest sort of horse with class."
What they say
Yann Barberot, trainer of Goya Senora
I don't yet know how good he is, especially over staying trips. He won well last time and he's in great shape. It's fun to have a crack at the Cadran and we go there hopeful. I don't think the soft ground will bother him but obviously Aidan O’Brien's horse is a champion.
Hughie Morrison, trainer of Quickthorn
He's been in fantastic form and we're having a go. It was exciting to hear that Kyprios was coming but reading the press last night the reality began to kick in. I just want him to run his race.
Brian Ellison, trainer of Tashkhan
This will be the most favourable ground he's run on this year, it's always been too quick for him. He seems in good form at home. There was always the worry that he's run too many times on fast ground but we took him away for a bit of work in first-time cheekpieces, just to give him a different angle, and he worked brilliantly. We're hoping for a great run.
Richard Chotard, trainer of Skazino
He has been very well since Deauville, he's in great condition and I’m expecting a big run. I think he deserves to be third favourite with the bookmakers and he has run the trip last year, while the ground will suit him. Kyprios won the Gold Cup on quick ground so we’ll see if he’s as good on very soft going.
Andre Fabre, trainer of Joie De Soir
She's in good form and the soft ground will help her. The difference is the quality of horses she will face as this is the best race she’s ever run in.
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