Dunlop: “The horse is taking his racing very well.”
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
By Scott Burton 9:30AM 14 JUL 2016
Preview: Saint-Cloud, Thursday
Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Group 1) 1m4f, 3yo colts and fillies
WITH no French-trained challenger sent to the Curragh last month, this Bastille Day feature provides a first chance to measure the strength of the Anglo-Irish Derby form of Harzand against that of the Prix du Jockey Club.
Harzand’s chief surrogate at Saint-Cloud is Red Verdon – who has been given a third Group 1 supplementary entry at a cost of €43,200 – following his incident-packed sixth-placed effort from a wide draw in the Derby and a fast-closing fourth in Ireland, an improvement of some eight lengths relative to the winner.
“We were hoping to run on decent ground but he has run in Derbys and handicaps on slow ground and it shouldn’t be an issue,” said trainer Ed Dunlop.
“You don’t like to make excuses for horses but on two occasions he was unlucky at Epsom while we felt he got too far back in a relatively slowly run race at the Curragh and then ran on very well.
“The horse is taking his racing very well and is heavier than when he ran in Ireland.”
Cloth Of Stars’ recovery mission
Godolphin’s Andre Fabre-trained Cloth Of Stars also comes on from Epsom where his jockey, Mickael Barzalona, made a smart move across from his outside stall but faded rather tamely inside the final two furlongs.
Cloth Of Stars’s stablemate Talismanic was fourth in the Jockey Club having been up with the pace throughout on what was a drop back in trip.
Barzalona keeps the faith with the son of Medaglia D’Oro, who should appreciate the step back up to a mile and a half and certainly won’t mind should Saint-Cloud catch any further thundery showers.
“Cloth Of Stars is having his first run since the Derby, so is on a bit of a recovery mission,” said Fabre. “He appears outwardly to have recovered well and his work has been good.
“This is only his second try over 12f and his last try in the Derby was inconclusive. He goes on any type of ground so should not be inconvenienced if the thunderstorms materialise.”
With Shogun staying at Ballydoyle due to the softening ground, Beacon Rock will be the sole representative for Aidan O’Brien, who landed this race with Scorpion (2005) and Imperial Monarch (2012).
O’Brien pins hopes on Beacon Rock
The mount of Ryan Moore, Beacon Rock landed the Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh over 1m2f before running well in defeat to Across the Stars in the King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot.
“He ran really well at Royal Ascot and seems in good form since, although I have to admit that we have not done a whole lot with him at home since Ascot,” said O’Brien.
“This looks a suitable race and I’m very happy with him.”