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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Recoletos and Vazirabad set for Royal Ascot after perfect preps

Almodovar pleases Charlton after fine second placed effort in Prix d'Ispahan

Carlos Laffon-Parias: sent Recoletos out to a first Group 1 success in the Churchill Coolmore Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp on Sunday
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Churchill Coolmore Prix d'Ispahan (Group 1) 4yo+ | 1m1¼f (Grande Piste)

Trainers are no different to most people in the difficulty they will sometimes find in publicly admitting their mistakes, but Carlos Laffon-Parias was admirably honest in the aftermath of a first Group 1 success for Recoletos under a resurgent Olivier Peslier. 

"Maybe we were mistaken about his best trip last year and if we had run him over a mile, he might already have won a Group 1 before today," said Laffon-Parias, whose charge was good enough over a mile and a quarter to be third in the Prix du Jockey Club and fourth in the Champion Stakes.

"He wasn't great leaving the stalls today and, having found himself out the back, Olivier had to change tactics. But the horse was good enough to run them down for the victory. 

"If he comes out of this in good form, the logical next step is the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot."

Bet365, Ladbrokes and Boylesports were among a handful of firms to go 10-1 about the Queen Anne, while others were more impressed.

Full Queen Anne Stakes card and betting

Roger Charlton and Bjorn Nielsen were in no rush to decide a target for Almodovar, who ran a fine race to be beaten under two lengths in second.

Charlton said: "He's a horse that has speed and you could almost go a mile with him, he's been running over the wrong trip at a mile and a half."

Result and analysis

Prix Vicomtesse Vigier (Group 2) 4yo+ | 1m7f (Grande Piste)

Better than ever: Vazirabad heads to the Gold Cup in the form of his life

Alain de Royer-Dupre only had three weeks to prepare Vazirabad following a setback in the wake of his latest Dubai romp, but that was enough to have the steel grey son of Manduro force his way into the serious reckoning for next month's Ascot Gold Cup.

Not for the first time, Christophe Soumillon swept to the front on Vazirabad only for his partner to believe the job was done, and the Hughie Morrison trained Marmelo pushed him all the way to the line. 

"I'm pleased he has had quite an easy comeback run and I think there's more to come ahead of the Gold Cup," said Alain de Royer-Dupre.

"The fact there was plenty of pace in the race will have done him good as well and he'll go to England, unless they look like getting 35 degree temperatures."

Full card and betting for the Ascot Gold Cup

Marmelo ran a fine race on his first start since the Melbourne Cup and, with Ascot not on the agenda for him, is likely to be kept to France in the build up to a return attempt in Australia. 

"What is fantastic is that he has come back better than ever and we have a proper stayer," said Morrison.

"We were fairly handicapped last year but the first three were thrown in. We didn't run our race, we blew it in the Caulfield Cup.

"It's a long way to go to have two cracks at. He's a bigger, stronger horse, it makes a lot of difference from four to five with stayers."

Result and analysis

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If he comes out of this in good form, the logical next step is the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot
E.W. Terms
Sky bet