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Weld, Appleby and Beckett among the trainers searching for Prix Royal-Oak glory

Search For A Song: a leading contender in this Group 1
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Sunday: 2.50 Longchamp
Prix Royal-Oak (Group 1) | 3yo+ | 1m7½f | SKY

The presence of the Prix Royal-Oak as the final Group 1 of the French season is the main reason why Champions Day at Ascot does not have a full slate of five Group 1s.

For all that the two races might look to be fishing in the same pool of European stayers, the Longchamp race has become a place to discover future talent in recent years, with four of the last six winners benefitting from a useful 8lb weight-for-age pull as three-year-olds. 

Kemari (while cap) chases home Godolphin stablemate Manobo in the Prix Chaudenay at Longchamp

Godolphin's Kemari spearheads the younger brigade this year, having found only his deeply progressive stablemate Manobo too strong over course and distance in the Prix Chaudenay over Arc weekend.

Charlie Appleby's charge needs to have improved for the step up to almost two miles if he is to turn around the Great Voltigeur form with Scope, who while he had no answers to Hurricane Lane and Mojo Star in the St Leger, still stayed on well to finish sixth. 

Scope needs to prove he is as effective on deep ground but if there is a progressive young stayer to emerge from this group, he might easily be it having strolled to a Listed success at Ascot three weeks ago. 

Scope was a very easy winner of the Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot on his last start

20 years ago Dermot Weld won this prize with a three-year-old in the shape of Vinnie Roe, and his representative Search For A Song holds as strong a claim as any among the older horses here.

Last year's Irish St Leger heroine is one of only two Group 1 winners in the field and could not have been more impressive in routing The Mediterranean by nine and a half lengths in the Loughbrown Stakes.

Skazino and Valia have dominated several Group races in France at around this trip during the course of the season, meeting on three occasions.

Skazino holds a 2-1 advantage and if the pair become engaged in a battle up the Longchamp straight once more then he is arguably the more resolute, although if Christophe Soumillon is able to kid Valia into the race, she has the turn of foot to give Alain de Royer-Dupre victory with his last domestic Group 1 runner. 

Glycon only recently stepped up from a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half and his breeding suggests this might be a step too far, though trainer Jean-Claude Rouget will surely be trusting to more than just this son of Le Havre's innate class. 

Hughie Morrison also has the Royal-Oak on his CV and sends Ebor runner-up Quickthorn for a first try over further than 1m6f – his win at Salisbury was one of the most extraordinary of the season after overcoming a catastrophic start – with Oisin Murphy travelling over for the ride. 

Quickthorn (far side) is just denied by Sonnyboyliston in the Ebor

Back in 2005 Morrison triumphed with the 10-year-old Alcazar and since then a pair of seven-year-olds and four six-year-olds have returned to the winners' enclosure.

Do not completely disregard the veteran Call The Wind, who was second to Technician in this race two years ago and is the only other confirmed Group 1 performer in the line-up. 

What they say

Hughie Morrison, trainer of Quickthorn
It's been a long season but hopefully he can be at his best. We just feel that if we don't have a go now, we might miss an opportunity. He had a very hard race at Salisbury and at York before that so we've just freshened him up over the last three weeks.

Dermot Weld, trainer of Search For A Song
She is in great form, she travelled over well and I couldn't be happier with her. I just don't want to see any more rain because she is a good ground filly, I'm hoping it will be more yielding than soft.

Cedric Rossi, trainer of Skazino
This is a much better trip for him than the Cadran. He ran very well the other day but he didn't settle in the first part of the race like a true stayer. He paid for it late on but he was very courageous.

Alain de Royer-Dupre, trainer of Valia
She seems to have recovered well from the Royallieu where, a little like at Deauville, she didn't quite give everything at the finish.

Valia will be Alain de Royer-Dupre's final domestic Group 1 runner at Longchamp on Sunday

Charlie Appleby, trainer of Kemari
We've been pleased with how Kemari came out of the Prix Chaudenay, which was a step in the right direction following his run at York. He has handled these conditions before and we're hoping he can make the first three in what looks a competitive event.

Ralph Beckett, trainer of of Scope
It was a bet to nothing after he won his stakes race the other day. He's very well and healthy, he travelled over well so we're hopeful.


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He has handled these conditions before and we're hoping he can make the first three in what looks a competitive event
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