On Sunday, Chantilly stages the 2016 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the centrepiece of a star-studded afternoon of Group 1 racing.

The action gets underway with the Group 1 Total Prix Marcel Boussac – Criterium des Pouliches over a mile for two year old fillies.

Dabyah meets the rising ground at Newmarket Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Dabyah meets the rising ground at Newmarket
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Dabyah comes into this contest unbeaten in two starts, having made a huge impression when winning the second of those races at Newbury. The John Gosden trained daughter of Sepoy won a maiden at Newmarket’s July Festival by ½ a length from Amabilis in early July. She was not seen again until mid-September, when she headed to Newbury for a conditions race, romping 9 lengths clear of Shawami. The big question is whether she was the only one to handle the soft ground or whether this was a demonstration of a huge talent. This race will tell us much more.

Jean-Claude Rouget continues to excel with fillies and fields the unbeaten First Of Spring here. This daughter of Galileo is out of the 1,000 Guineas winner Homecoming Queen and made a favourable impression on debut, landing a Deauville maiden by 2 lengths from Pretty Strange in late July. She followed-up at the same track in a conditions race in August, beating Nofoemaypass by 3 lengths.

Normandel has run well on both starts to date and has proven Group form. The PIa Brandt trained daughter of Le Havre won on debut at Clareifontaine, beating Upendi by ¾ of a length in August. She then stepped up in class in the Group 3 Prix d’Aumale at Chantilly in September, finishing a length second of 6 to Toulifaut.

Elegante Bere comes into this race with consistent form but perhaps needing a little more. The daughter of Peer Gynt won a minor contest on debut in May by a neck from Pazeer, before finishing a head second of 4 to Deep Inside at Compiegne in heavy ground in late June. She then stepped up to Listed class at Deauville in late August, running a respectable race to finish 3 ¼ lengths third of 5 to High Alpha.

Senga is another to have shown plenty of promise and is taking a big step up in grade now. The Pascal Bary trained daughter of Blame ran ¾ of a length second of 6 to La Cochere in a Deauville maiden in early August. A month later she won a conditions race at Saint-Cloud with a 2 lengths defeat of Last Kingdom.

Baileys Showgirl was well beaten on debut, but landed her next two starts, winning at Hamilton Park in late June, before adding a Listed race at Chantilly by 2 lengths from Red Onion in late July. The Mark Johnston trained daughter of Sepoy then headed to Deauville a month later, for the Group 3 Prix du Calvados, running well to finish 2 lengths third of 9 to Cavale Doree. She returned to France again for the Group 3 Prix la Rochette at Saint-Cloud in early September, coming home 2 ½ lengths third of 6 to Kontrastat.

Wuheida beats Spatial and Nathania at Newmarket Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Wuheida (left) beats Spatial and Nathania at Newmarket
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Wuheida makes just her second racecourse appearance here, having impressed on debut and beaten the useful subsequent winner Spatial. The Charlie Appleby trained daughter of Dubawi is out of that smart race filly Hibaayeb and beat her rival by 1 ¼ lengths on Newmarket’s July Course in early August.

 

Cavale Doree has looked most progressive to date and seeks a hat-trick here. The Christophe Ferland trained daughter of Sunday Break ran well on debut to finish a short neck second of 3 to Celanova at La Tested a Buch in late June. She got off the mark next time out, beating Facilitate by 7 lengths in a maiden at Deauville in late July. She then landed the Group 3 Prix du Calvados at Deauville in August, beating Asidious Alexander by 1 ¼ lengths.

 

 

Promise To Be True beats Take A Deep Breath at Leopardstown Image by www.healyracing.ie

Promise To Be True beats Take A Deep Breath at Leopardstown
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Promise To Be True hails from the all-powerful stable of Aidan O’Brien and had looked a leading juvenile filly in her first two starts, before disappointing last tie out. The daughter of Galileo beat Elizabeth Browning by a length in a Tipperary maiden in late June. A month later she looked a really smart filly as she won the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown by 1 ¼ lengths from Take A Deep Breath. However, in September’s Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes she failed to pick up, coming home 4 lengths fifth of 7 to Intricately and she will need more here.

 

Body Sculpt comes into this race as a maiden and looks up against it here. The daughter of Kendargent ran last of 4 to Deep Inside on her debut in late June, but improved on her next start when ¼ of a length second of 9 to Miss Infinity in a Listed race at Vichy in early August. A month later she contested the Group 3 Prix la Rochette at Chantilly, running a respectable race to finish 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 6 behind Kontrastat.

Toulifaut will attract plenty of interest as an unbeaten and progressive daughter of Frankel. She also hails from the powerful stable of Jean-Claude Rouget and probably sets the standard among the home fillies here. She won on debut by ½ a length from Double Lady at Clairefontaine in early July and made it two from two when defeating Dolokhov by 2 lengths at Deauville in mid-August. Toulifaut then headed to Chantilly for the Group 3 Prix d’Aumale in early September, winning with a little bit in hand as she defeated Normandel and the unlucky in running Asidious Alexander by a length.

 

The two year old colts are up next in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) over a mile.

After running ¾ of a length second to Incampo on debut in mid-July, Kontrastat has developed into a leading juvenile colt in France with two subsequent wins. The son of My Risk on a maiden at Deauville in August by 1 ¾ lengths from Brise De Mer and followed-up with a ¾ of a length victory over Mate Sorry in the Group 3 Prix La Rochette at Saint-Cloud in early September.

Salouen took five starts to finally break his maiden, but put in some good performances along the way and has continued to progress. The Sylvester Kirk trained son of Canford Cliffs was second on debut, beaten just a nose by Farleigh Mac at Salisbury in June. After running 1 ¼ lengths third of 14 to Mutawatheb in a Newbury maiden in late June, he ran his only poor race to date when a well beaten 9th to the smart Escobar in another Newbury maiden in mid-July. Towards the end of that month he contested a maiden at Glorious Goodwood, coming home 4 ½ lengths fourth of 10 to the useful looking Best Solution. He got off the mark at Windsor in early August when impressing with a 3 ¼ length defeat of Star Archer. Later that month he ran a belter in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park, finishing 2 ¼ lengths second of 10 to the smart South Seas. In early September he landed a minor contest at Salisbury by ½ a length from Sea Fox and he continues to run enthusiastically.

King Of Spades has been supplemented for this race but looks to face a tough task, having only lost his maiden tag in his sixth start. that came in a Deauville claimer in late August, when he beat Mister Art by a length. However, he seemed to improve for that win and ran well when a head second of 7 to Sans Equivoque in the Group 3 Prix Eclipse at Maisons-Laffitte.

 

Whitecliffsofdover Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Whitecliffsofdover
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Whitecliffsofdover showed plenty of promise on debut when finishing 2 ½ lengths fourth of 14 to stable mate Intelligence Cross in a Curragh maiden in late June. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front was impressive in his subsequent start, landing a Naas maiden by 3 lengths from Lightening Fast at the start of August. He then travelled to Newmarket for the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes in late September, running a solid race to finish ¾ of a length second of 8 to Larchmont Lad.

Utah was well held by his stable mate Douglas MacArthur, when finishing 9 ½ lengths 6th of 8 in a Leopardstown maiden in late July. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo looked much more forward on the occasion of his next start, beating another stable mate, Anvil, by 2 ¼ lengths in a Curragh maiden in early August. Later that month he contested a Tipperary nursery and ran 4 ¼ lengths second of 4 to Sir Dreamalot.

 

National Defense looked a potentially very smart colt when winning on debut by 6 lengths from On The Rox at Deauville in late August. The Criquette Head-Maarek trained son of Invincible Spirit was a little disappointing the Group 3 Prix des Chenes at Chantilly in early September, coming home 3 lengths third of 6 to Akihiro.

Thais has looked progressive in two races but takes a big leap in class now. The Pascal Bary trained daughter of Rio De La Plata ran a length second of 8 to Celanova at Deauville in early August. She improved to land a Saint-Cloud maiden the following month, beating Normandie by a neck.

 

The Group 1 action continues with the fillies and mares in the Prix de l’Opera Longines, over 1 ¼ miles.

The German filly Royal Solitaire failed to make too much mark as a 3 year old last year, although she landed a minor handicap. The Peter Schiergen trained daughter of Shamardal has really come into her own this year however, completing a hat-trick of victories with a ½ a length defeat of Nymeria in the Group 2 Badener Meile in Baden Baden in late May. A couple of months later she ran well in the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis – Bayerisches Zuchtrennen in Munich, finishing ½ a length second of 12 to Elliptique. In August she headed to Deauville for the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet, finishing 2 ¾ lengths 7th of 10 to Speedy Boarding. She will need more here.

Pleascach (centre) gets up from Covert Love (right) and the late finihsing Sea Calisi, inthe Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks Image by Steven Cargill

Pleascach (centre) gets up from Covert Love (right) and the late finihsing Sea Calisi, inthe Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks
Image by Steven Cargill

Pleascach finally returns to action after over a year off the course. The Jim Bolger trained 4 year old daughter of Teofilo landed the Group 1 Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Darley Yorkshire Oaks last term, beating Covert Love by a neck on the latter occasion. She was last seen in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September 2015, when she finished 3 ½ lengths fourth of 7 to Golden Horn. It would be some training feat for her to come back with a victory here after such a long absence.

Speedy Boarding returns to France, where her best runs have come this year. This James Fanshawe trained 4 year old daughter of Shamardal was useful last term, winning twice, including a Listed success at Newbury. She shaped with promise on her return when 2 lengths fourth of 7 to Beautiful Romance in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York in mid-May. That set her up for a career-best performance, as she landed the Group 2 Prix Corrida by ½ a length from Siljan’s Saga at Saint-Cloud in late May. A month later however she was no match for the imperious Minding, finishing 10 ½ lengths last of 5 in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh. After a break, she returned to action in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville in August, beating Ame Bleue by 1 ¾ lengths for a first success at the highest level.

Sea Front was successful in handicap and Listed company last year but has run well in 2016 without adding any more victories. The 5 year old mare was 5 lengths third of 12 to the smart Usherette in a minor contest at Chantilly in early April and a month later ran a length second of 7 to Sayana in a Listed race at the same track. In June she ran well again to finish a length third of 7 to Pas De Deux in a Chantilly Group 3. In August she ran in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet, coming home 2 ½ lengths fourth of 10 to Speedy Boarding. She will need a big personal best to score here.

Jemayel showed promise when third of 8 to Gherdaiya on her debut at Deauville in early August. The Jean-Claude Rouget trained daughter of Lope De Vega got off the mark next time out in a Longchamp contest the following month, beating Impressionist and rounded off her first season with a fine run in the Group 3 Prix Des Reservoirs at Deauville in October, finishing second of 8 to Trixia. She disappointed on her return in a Listed race at Chantilly in late April, when only 7th of 9 to Magnanime. However, in early May she bounced back to her best form to land the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary by a head from Camprock. She disappointed in a very rough Group 1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly in June, coming home 3 ¾ lengths 9th of 16 behind La Cressonniere. In late July she headed to Goodwood for the Group 1 Nassau Stakes, running a respectable race to finish 2 ½ lengths third of 5 behind Minding. The following month she ran well, but was no match for her stable mate when 2 lengths second of 5 to La Cressonniere in the Group 2 Prix de la Nonette at Deauville.

Pagella represents Germany here but looks to be up against it on the formbook. The 3 year old daughter of Soldier Hollow ran ¼ of a length second of 12 to Meergorl in the Group 2 Diana-Trial at Hoppegarten in June, but was 3 ¾ lengths 7th of 16 to Serienholde in the Group 1 German Oaks itself, at Dusseldorf in early August. A month later, she ran a little better when 7 ¾ lengths third of 10 behind Iquitos in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden. She needs more here.

So Mi Dar (pink) beats Nezwaah and Arabian Queen at Yarmouth Image reproduced with the kind permission of Yarmouth Racecourse

So Mi Dar (pink) beats Nezwaah and Arabian Queen at Yarmouth
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Yarmouth Racecourse

So Mi Dar looked very smart after her impressive victory in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York in May, and impressed on her return from an injury lay-off at Yarmouth last month. The John Gosden trained daughter of the much-celebrated Dar Re Mi is unbeaten, winning on the first two occasions by just a neck. After beating Golden Stunner in a Windsor maiden last October, she returned to action and took on the colts in the Investec Derby Trial, over the Epsom Derby course and distance in April. In the event, she beat Humphrey Bogart by a neck, with that horse and the third Viren’s Army, going on to win Derby Trials. She then took a step up in class for the Musidora, beating Fireglow by four lengths, to come sharply into focus for the Investec Oaks. However, a setback kept her off the track all summer and she was not seen out again until contesting a Listed race at Yarmouth in September – albeit one with a distinctly Group 2 feel to it. In the event, she came through with a powerful run to beat Nezwaah and Arabian Queen by ½ a length.

 

 

Next up comes the big race as Europe’s finest middle-distance horses vie for a slice of history in the 1 ½ mile Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

New Bay parades in the Arc Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

New Bay parades in the Arc last year
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

New Bay was top class last year, but his 2016 campaign has yet to catch fire. Having run 3 lengths second to Make Believe in the French Guineas, the Andre Fabre trained 4 year old landed the Prix du Jockey Club by 1 ½ lengths from Highland Reel in late May of last year. In mid-August he beat Dariyan by 1 ½ lengths in a Deauville Group 2, before slamming his rivals in the Group 2 Prix Niel at Longchamp in September, beating Silverware by 2 ½ lengths in very soft ground. He rounded off his campaign by finishing 2 ¼ lengths third of 17 to Golden Horn in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. His return in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan in late May proved a disaster. In heavy ground he ran a dismal race, coming home 15 lengths 6th of 9 behind A Shin Hikari. New Bay was not seen out again until mid-August, when he looked back to something approaching reasonable form, landing a Group 3 contest at Deauville by 1 ½ lengths from Arthenus. He then headed to a fantastic renewal of the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, running a respectable race to finish 5 ¼ lengths fourth of 12 to Almanzor. He should be at his peak as he bids to improve on that fine run last year.

Postponed wins the Juddmonte International Stakes Image reproduced with the kind permission of York Racecourse

Postponed wins the Juddmonte International Stakes
Image reproduced with the kind permission of York Racecourse

Postponed has sound claims to being the best turf middle distance horse in the world at the moment – and comes here on a six-race winning streak. The Roger Varian trained 5 year old won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes by a nose from Eagle Top, in late July of 2015, to start his sequence. A ¾ of a length victory over Spiritjim in the Group 2 Prix Foy in September 2015, saw him emerge as a leading Arc fancy. However, he was then moved by his owner from Luca Cumani’s yard to that of Varian – and did not race again last year. He returned as good as ever in the Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold at Meydan in March, beating Dariyan by 3 lengths and three weeks later was brilliant as he defeated Duramente by 2 lengths in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup night. After a mini-break, Postponed blitzed his rivals on his return to Europe in Epsom’s Group 1 Coronation Cup, beating Found by a very easy 4 ½ lengths. He looked all-set to land back-to-back victories in the King George, but was ruled out at a late stage due to a respiratory infection. The Varian yard suffered from sickness in mid-summer and Postponed was on the easy list for a while, but made a winning comeback in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York in August, defying the shorter 1 ¼ mile trip to beat Highland Reel and a strong support cast by 1 ¼ lengths.

Migwar was a useful horse last year, but has been lightly-raced in the present campaign. The Freddy Head trained 4 year old ran 4 ¼ lengths third of 7 to New Bay in last year’s Group 2 Prix Niel and was later 1 ¼ lengths second of 9 to Ming Dynasty in the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris in very soft ground at Chantilly last October. He returned to action in mid-July – and disappointed, in a conditions race at the same track, when only 5 ¾ lengths fifth of 7 behind Big Blue. However, in early September he got back to winning ways in another conditions contest at Saint-Cloud, defeating Medrano by 1 ¼ lengths. This is a big step up in class.

Highland Reel beats Wings Of Desire in the 2016 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Image by www.racehorsephotos.co.uk

Highland Reel beats Wings Of Desire in the 2016 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes
Image by www.racehorsephotos.co.uk

Highland Reel had a good 2015 campaign which saw him run second to New Bay in the Prix du Jockey Club, before making his mark in three different continents. The Aidan O’Brien trained 4 year old landed the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in July and the following month beat Closing Bell by an emphatic 5 ¼ lengths in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park. After finishing 3 ¾ lengths fifth to Golden Horn in the Irish Champion Stakes, Highland Reel headed to Australia and was far from disgraced in finished 5 ½ lengths third of 14 to the superstar filly Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate last October. He rounded his year off with a trip to Hong Kong where he landed the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase by 1 ½ lengths from Flintshire. However, he has failed to quite deliver in two starts this year so far. He ran 4 ¼ lengths fourth of 9 to Postponed in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup Night in Meydan in late March. A month later he was a disappointing 10 ½ lengths 8th of 13 to Werther in the Group 1 QEII Cup in Sha Tin. He returned to European action in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and was embroiled in a thrilling battle down the home straight with Dartmouth. Despite carrying an awkward head carriage, Highland Reel fought on bravely before finally succumbing to a head defeat with a Stewards’ Enquiry upholding the result. However, at the end of July and on faster ground, form was reversed as Highland Reel held off the persistent challenge of Wings Of Desire by 1 ¼ lengths, with Dartmouth well held in third place, in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. He dropped in trip in August, for the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, giving Postponed a real run for his money before finishing 1 ¼ lengths second of 12. In September he took part in that epic Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, finishing 6 ½ lengths 7th of 12 to Almanzor. He will need more here.

Unraced at two, One Foot In Heaven did not even make the racecourse until October of last year, winning the second of two starts in 2015, when landing a minor contest at Deauville in December. The Alain de Royer-Dupre trained 4 year old son of Fastnet Rock has proved a sensational improver this spring and comes here having completed a hat-trick last time out. After winning a Listed race at Maisons-Laffitte in April, he beat Harlem by a length in a Saint-Cloud Group 3 in early May and a month later defeated Garlingari by ¾ of a length to add the Group 2 Grand Prix de-Chantilly. His run of victories came to an end in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in early July, when he could only manage 2 ¼ lengths 6th of 11 to Silverwave and he was well beaten by the same horse in the Group 2 Prix Foy at Chantilly in mid-September, finishing 8 ¾ lengths last of four.

The Grey Gatsby Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Grey Gatsby
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The 2014 Irish Champion Stakes winner The Grey Gatsby gave trainer Kevin Ryan a season to remember with some tremendous performances that moved him from underdog to top dog in the 10 furlong division. In a fabulous season, he won the Group 1 Prix Du Jockey Club and was second to Australia in the Juddmonte International Stakes, before gaining his revenge with a narrow victory in the Irish Champion Stakes. The Grey Gatsby ran his best race of 2015 in the Group Princes Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. In the final furlong he was shut in and denied a clear run, once the gap finally presented itself he closed on Free Eagle but the line came agonisingly a few strides too soon and he finished a short head second of 9. He failed to win last term and made his return this year in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing 4 ½ lengths fourth of 6 on arguably softer ground than he would have preferred, He then stepped up to 12 furlongs for the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Arqana Racing Club Stakes at Newmarket in early July, running well to finish 2 ½ lengths second of 7 to Big Orange. He then returned to York for the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes in August, coming home a well beaten 10 ½ lengths 6th of 12 to Postponed.

Silverwave Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

Silverwave
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

After winning his first four career starts, including the Group 3 Prix La Force, Silverwave flopped in the Prix du Jockey Club last year and took a while to come back to form. The Pascal Bary trained 4 year old was 3 ¼ lengths 4th of 9 to Erupt in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris and later finished 2 ½ lengths second of 7 to New Bay in the Group 2 Prix Niel, before coming home 5 ¼ lengths 10th of 17 to Golden Horn in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. He was a disappointing 7th of 12 to Garlingari on his return, in the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt at Chantilly in April. However, the following month he ran well when 1 ¼ lengths second of 10 to Dariyan in the Group 1 Prix Ganay. He was not entirely disgraced in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly in late May, finishing 12 lengths third of 9 to A Shin Hikari. He then came back to form in early July when landing the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud by 1 ¼ lengths from Erupt. After a break, he made it back to back victories with a length defeat of Ito in the Group 2 Prix Foy at Chantilly in mid-September. That would not have been the strongest renewal but Silverwave comes here in good form.

Order Of St George is clear of Mizzou in the Gold Cup Image by www.healyracing.ie

Order Of St George is clear of Mizzou in the Gold Cup
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Superstar stayer Order Of St George drops in trip and bids to go one place better than Ardross, the 1982 Gold Cup winner at Royal Ascot, who was an agonisingly close second to Akiyda in the Arc. Easy victories for the Aidan O’Brien colt in 2015 came at Down Royal and the Curragh, before he slammed his rivals in the Group 1 Irish St Leger, beating Agent Murphy by 11 lengths last September. The 4 year old returned to action in the Listed Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown in early June – and looked as good as ever, as he powered to a 4 ½ lengths victory over Fact Or Folklore. He then put in an extraordinary burst of speed to brilliantly win the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June, beating Mizzou by three lengths with a performance that had his trainer mentioning a possible crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. He had a summer break thereafter, and returned victorious in the Group 3 St Leger Trial at the Curragh in late August, asserting in the final furlong to beat Twilight Payment by 1 ½ lengths. Order Of St George was fully expected to record a second win in the Group 1 Irish St Leger at the Curragh in mid-September, but ultimately could not quicken and close soon enough in very windy conditions, and went down to a shock ½ a length defeat at the hands of Wicklow Brave.

Siljan's Saga won the Grand Prix de Deauville Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

Siljan’s Saga 
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

The mare Siljan’s Saga hit form last summer with back to back victories, including a ¾ of a length defeat of Cocktail Queen in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville in late August. The 6 year old later ran a creditable 8th to Golden Horn in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and later in October she ran a belter when stepped up in trip, finishing a length second of 13 to Vazirabad in the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp. She shaped with promise on her return in the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt in April, finishing 4 ½ lengths fourth of 12 to Garlingari. In early May she disappointed in the Group 1 Prix Ganay when finishing 6 ¾ lengths 8th of 10 to Dariyan. However, she put that effort behind her to run well and finish ½ a length second of 11 to Speedy Boarding in the Group 2 Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud in late May. In early July she contested the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, coming home 1 ½ lengths third of 11 to Silverwave. In late August she again ran well when ¼ of a length second of 4 to Savoir Vivre in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville. She will need more here.

Found asserts from Success Days and Fascinating Rock in the Mooresbridge Stakes Image by www.healyracing.ie

Found asserts from Success Days and Fascinating Rock in the Mooresbridge Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Breeders’ Cup Turf heroine Found will need little introduction here, but has developed a case of seconditis this year. The Aidan O’Brien trained 4 year old filly was out of the top drawer as a juvenile, and was a smart filly last term, winning the Group 3 Royal Whip at the Curragh in late August and running a belter in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September and eventually finishing a length second to the Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn. She then ran 9th to Golden Horn in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and second in a sub-standard Ascot Group 1 won by Fascinating Rock in mid-October. But the best was yet to come, as she got the better of the mighty Golden Horn by ½ a length in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland in late October. She returned to action in the Listed Alleged Stakes, run on heavy Curragh ground at the start of April, finishing 7 ¾ lengths third of 5 to Zhukova. That appeared to bring her on and she was an impressive 1 ¼ length winner of the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes from Success Days in early May. However, Fascinating Rock, third in that race, turned the form around on rain-softened ground in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in late May, with Found finishing 3 ¾ lengths second and making little impression on the winner. She then headed to Epsom Downs for the Group 1 Coronation Cup and ran on to finish 4 ½ lengths second of 8 to Postponed. Found continued her busy spring with another gallant effort to finish ¼ of a length second of 6 to My Dream Boat in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. She had a good break after that run, returning to action in the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York’s Ebor Festival in August, where she stayed on to finish 2 ¾ lengths second of 12 behind stable mate Seventh Heaven. The following month she ran a superb race in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, finishing second for the fifth successive time – and the second time in that particular race, beaten ¾ of a length by Almanzor in a very strong renewal.

Harzand lands the 2016 Investec Derby Image by Steven Cargill

Harzand lands the 2016 Investec Derby
Image by Steven Cargill

Harzand bids to become the second winner of both the Epsom and Curragh Derbies to add an Irish Champion Stakes, after High Chaparral. The Dermot Weld trained son of Sea The Stars shaped with promise on his only start at two, finishing 4 ¼ lengths fifth of 16 to Newsman in a Gowran Park maiden in September. He made no mistake on his return in a Cork maiden in late March, beating Sword Fighter by a resounding 16 lengths. The following month he ran out an impressive winner of the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown, beating Idaho by 1 ¼ lengths. However, Pat Smullen suggested afterwards that this imposing colt might not be suited by Epsom’s course. Even so, with plenty of rain in the run-up to the Investec Derby Festival, he took his chance and beat US Army Ranger by 1 ½ lengths. He reportedly returned from Epsom sore and Weld publicly stated that he would have liked an extra week of recuperation and preparation. Even so, Harzand got the better of Idaho by ½ a length in the Group 1 Irish Derby, with that colt going on to win the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York in August. Harzand had a good break after the Curragh and returned to action over the shorter 1 ¼ mile Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September. He reportedly was struck into and suffered a leg cut, coming home a disappointing 7 ¼ lengths 8th of 12 to Almanzor. He reportedly galloped well on Tuesday and has been given the all clear to run.

Vedevani looks set to help set the running, having placed in the first three just once in five starts during 2016. Last time out he finished 3 ¾ lengths third of 6 to Talismanic in a Listed race at Saint-Cloud in mid-September and that form is simply not good enough here.

Talismanic was well beaten on debut and finished second on his next start, before getting off the mark with a 7 lengths victory in a maiden in October. The Andre Fabre trained son of Medaglia d’Oro has looked improved this spring however, finishing 3 lengths second of 8 to Apilobar in a Listed race at Saint-Cloud in March and then landing a similar contest over 12 furlongs by 1 ¾ lengths from Spring Master in late May. He then headed to Chantilly in early June for the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club where he gave a good account of himself to finish 4 ½ lengths fourth of 16 behind Almanzor. A month later he was a little disappointing in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Saint-Cloud, finishing 2 ¾ lengths fifth of 8 to Mont Ormel. He was not seen for two months but made a winning return, landing a Listed contest at Saint-Cloud in mid-September by 3 lengths from Al Haram.

Makahiki represents Japan in its latest quest to finally land the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The Yasuo Tomomichi trained son of Deep Impact won the Grade 1 Japanese Derby by a nose from Satono Diamond in Tokyo in late May. He was not seen out again until winning the Group 2 Prix Niel at Chantilly in mid-September, beating Midterm by a neck. It was a workmanlike performance and he will need big improvement here.

Savoir Vivre came to prominence when running a head second of 19 behind Isfahan in the Grup 1 Deutches Derby at Hamburg in July. The Jean-Pierre Carvalho trained 3 year old son of Adlerflug landed the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville in late July, beating Siljan’s Saga by a neck. He has not raced since and would represent something of a shock winner.

Left Hand Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

Left Hand
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

Left Hand landed a Longchamp maiden in early September and was far from disgraced when running 2 ½ lengths fourth of 8 to Ballydoyle in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at the same track, a month later. The Carlos Laffon-Parias trained daughter of Dubawi was disappointing on her return however, finishing 5 ¾ lengths 6th of 7 to Come Alive in a Maisons-Laffitte conditions race in April. She showed improvement the following month when coming home 2 lengths fourth of 9 to Jemayel in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville. In June she ran an absolute screamer in the Group 1 Prix de Diane when finishing ½ a length second of 16 behind La Cressonniere at Chantilly. Towards the end of July she confirmed that form to be no flash in the pan as she won a Group 3 contest at Deauville by a neck from Lakalas. She stepped up again at Chantilly in September, recording the biggest win of her career so far by landing the Group 1 Prix Vermeille by ½ a length from Endless Time. It may not have seemed the strongest renewal on paper, but Left Hand appears to be improving and she carries the main hopes for the Classic crop of fillies with La Cressonniere out now.

 

The action continues after the big race, with two further Group 1 contests, starting with the Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp over five furlongs.

Duke Of Firenze Image reproduced with the kind permission of York Racecourse

Duke Of Firenze
Image reproduced with the kind permission of York Racecourse

Duke Of Firenze won the Epsom Dash on Derby Day back in 2013 but for much of last year appeared to be a shadow of his former self. The David Griffiths trained 7 year old has enjoyed a new lease of life this spring however, running ½ a length second of 6 to Encore D’Or at Lingfield Park in early May before winning a York handicap by ¾ of a length from Brando later that month, his first win since 2014. In early June he returned to Epsom for the latest Investec ‘Dash’, running well to finish 1 ¾ lengths third of 17 to Caspian Prince. A week later he headed to Musselburgh for a competitive handicap and again put up a decent effort when 2 ¾ lengths third of 17 to Hoofalong. He was a well beaten 11th of 12 behind Brando in a Group 3 contest at Sandown Park in early July and struggled in an Ascot handicap when 14th of 18 behind Royal Birth in early July. Towards the end of that month he ran much better in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, finishing 2 lengths fifth of 27 behind Dancing Star. The following month he put up a cracking performance when beaten just a head by Boom The Groom in a competitive handicap at York’s Ebor Festival. This is a big step up in class though.

Son Cesio comes here in great form Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecpirse

Son Cesio 
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecpirse

Son Cesio has been a smart sprinter for some years now and last year landed a Listed contest at Chantilly before winning a Maisons-Laffitte Group 3 by a length from Suedois. The 5 year old returned to action in a Listed race at the latter track in late April, finishing 4 ¼ lengths fourth of 7 to Love Spirit. The following month he was a head second to Finsbury Square in the Group 3 Prix de Saint-Georges at Deauville. In early June he landed the Group 2 Prix du Gros-Chene by a short neck from Catcall. He was not seen out again until late August, when disappointing in a German Group 2, coming home 4 ¾ lengths 7th of 11 to Markaz.

Goldream won the Prix de l'Abbaye Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Goldream won the Prix de l’Abbaye
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Goldream had a magnificent 2015 campaign which saw him make the leap from handicap winner to Group 1 winner. The Robert Cowell trained 7 year old won the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot by a short head from Medicean Man and later added the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye when beating Rangali by a short neck. He returned to action at Meydan in early March, finishing 3 ¾ lengths 7th of 11 to Fityaan. Towards the end of that month he was 3 ½ lengths 9th of 13 to Buffering in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint at the same track. He was not seen out again until the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood in late July, when he made a most encouraging comeback to finish ½ a length third of 17 to Take Cover. The following month he ran in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York, finishing 5 lengths 7th of 19 behind Mecca’s Angel. He then headed to Chantilly in early September for the Group 3 Prix du Petit Couvert, running 4 ½ lengths third of 13 to Just Glamorous.

Cotai Glory beats Alpha Delphini Image supplied by Newbury Racecourse

Cotai Glory beats Alpha Delphini
Image supplied by Newbury Racecourse

Cotai Glory was a brilliantly fast juvenile in 2014, but had a chequered campaign last season and was not seen out until July. The Charlie Hills trained 4 year old ran ½ a length third of 12 to Out Do on his return in a Listed race at York and later that month finished 2 ¾ lengths fifth of 15 to Muthmir in Goodwood’s Group 2 King George Stakes. He disappointed in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in August but the following month landed the Listed Scarborough Stakes at Doncaster, beating Kingsgate Native by a length. He returned to action in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, finishing 4 ½ lengths 12th of 21 to Profitable. In May he headed to Haydock Park for a Listed sprint and ran well to finish 1 ½ lengths second of 9 to Take Cover. The following month he came back to his best form to finish an excellent ¼ of a length second of 17 to Profitable in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. He then stepped up to six furlongs for the Group 1 July Cup in early July at Newmarket, but faded quickly and finished 7 ¼ lengths 13th of 18 behind Limato. Cotai Glory then contested the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood in late July, finishing 3 ½ lengths 8th of 17 to Take Cover. He then put up his best performance for some time, coming home 4 ¼ lengths fourth of 19 to Mecca’s Angel in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August. In Septmeber he ran in the Group 2 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh, but was a disappointing 7 ¼ lengths 9th of 13 to Ardhoomey, but just six days later he came back to form in a Newbury Group 3, beating Alpha Delphini by a short head.

Maarek Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Maarek
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Maarek is a former winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye who appreciates a little cut in the ground. The Evanna McCutcheon trained 9 year old made a successful UK raid last August when landing the Listed Beverley Bullet by a neck from Line Of Reason and he ran well at the Curragh a month later to finish a head second of 12 to Sole Power in the Group 2 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh. He disappointed in three subsequent starts but shaped well on his return in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster in early April, finishing 2 ¼ lengths third of 13 to Mobsta. A couple of weeks later he ran well when ¾ of a length fifth of 11 to Magical Memory in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket. Towards the end of April he was a little disappointing on good ground when 4 ½ lengths 7th of 10 to Fort Del Oro in the Listed Woodlands Stakes at Naas. He ran on well to finish 1 ¼ lengths fourth of 7 to Mobsta in the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh in late May and the following month headed to France for the Group 2 Prix Gros-Chene at Chantilly, finishing 2 ½ lengths fifth of 8 to Son Cesio. Later that month he disappointed in a Listed race at the Curragh when finishing 5 ¾ lengths 7th of 9 behind Toscanini. He was not seen out again until returning to Beverley for the latest renewal of the Beverley Bullet in late August, but disappointed, coming home 3 ½ lengths 8th of 10 to Alpha Delphini.  In September he ran on well in the Group 2 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh, finishing 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 13 to Ardhoomey.

The German trained Eskimo Point comes here having won his last four races, but is taking a huge leap in class. Mario Hofer’s 4 year old has been winning handicaps, but last time out added a Listed race at San Siro in September, beating Zan O’Bowney by a short neck. This is a very different test.

Washington DC Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Washington DC
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Washington DC was one of the first juveniles to represent Aidan O’Brien on the track last year and made his mark with victory at Royal Ascot in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes, beating Areen by a head. He was seen just once more in 2015, when finishing a hugely respectable 2 lengths second to the season’s outstanding juvenile colt, Air Force Blue, in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in August. Washington DC made his comeback over 7 furlongs at Dundalk in a Listed race, beating Alphonsus by 2 ¼ lengths at the start of April. Towards the end of that month he returned to Ascot for the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes, but ended his race tamely, coming home 7 lengths 7th of 9 to Gifted Master. He showed that run to be all wrong when getting back to winning ways in a Listed race at Navan in mid-May, beating Diamond Fields by 2 ¼ lengths. A fortnight later he was put in his place by the filly Only Mine, running 2 ¾ lengths second of 7 in the Group 3 Lacken Stakes at Naas. He ran well and probably to the best of his form in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, finishing 1 ½ lengths third of 10 to Quiet Reflection and that suggests he has a bit to find here. He again ran a belter in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket, finishing 3 ¾ lengths fifth of 18 to Limato. Later that month he arguably put up his best performance of the season so far as he got to within a neck of Take Cover in the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood. However, he ran an absolute stinker in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August, finishing 11 ½ lengths 17th of 19 to Mecca’s Angel. He ran much better in the Group 2 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh in September, coming home ½ a length second of 13 to Ardhoomey.

Take Cover has developed from a useful handicapper into a firmly established Group performer. The David Griffiths trained 9 year old won the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood in 2014, and last year he did not run a bad race when finishing 3 ½ lengths sixth of 18 to Goldream in the same race. He was a well beaten 12th in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp behind Goldream but ended his career on a high note with victory in a Listed race at Dundalk, beating Speed Hawk by 1 ½ lengths in late October. Take Cover returned to action at Lingfield Park in late February, running well in a Listed race to finish ¼ of a length second of 10 to Lightscameraction. Two months later he ran a super race to finish 1 ½ lengths fifth of 21 to Profitable in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, before getting back to winning ways with a 1 ½ lengths defeat of Cotai Glory in a Listed race at Haydock Park in late May. The following month he headed to Royal Ascot and the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes, but finished a well beaten 6 ½ lengths 11th of 17 behind Profitable. However, back at Goodwood in the latest renewal of the Group 2 King George Stakes, he put up a superb front-running display to beat Washington DC by a neck. He continued that excellent form in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August, running 4 lengths third of 19 to Mecca’s Angel. The following month he ran 3 ½ lengths 6th of 13 to Ardhoomey in the Group 2 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh.

Having won a handicap at York in late May, Harry Hurricane went on a string if disappointing efforts, although he showed signs of a return to form when twice finishing fifth to Boom The Groom in competitive handicaps at Goodwood and York in July and August. The George Baker trained 4 year old then ran 2 lengths third of 20 behind Captain Colby in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster in September, before getting back to winning ways with a neck defeat of East Street Revue in a Haydock Park handicap in late September. This is much tougher.

Just Glamorous turned a string of placed efforts into a hat-trick of handicap victories in mid-summer, and his latest run was a personal best. The Ronald Harris trained 3 year old ran 1 ¾ lengths 8th of 19 to Laughton in a handicap at Glorious Goodwood in late July, and a month later improved to finish a length third of 15 to East Street Revue in a York handicap. However, he then headed to Chantilly for an ambitious tilt at the Group 3 Prix du Petit Couvert in September – and beat Marsha by an impressive 3 lengths.

Profitable beats Cotai Glory in the King's Stand Stakes Image by www.healyracing.ie

Profitable beats Cotai Glory in the King’s Stand Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Profitable comes here as one of the leading British sprinters of the season so far and has certainly helped to set the standard over 5 furlongs. The Clive Cox trained 4 year old son of Invincible Spirit was second 4 times and won his other start in his first 5 career runs, before running fifth to Royal Razalma in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket in October 2014. He was a well beaten fifth to Waady on his return at Sandown Park in April but the following month defeated Tendu by a neck in a Listed contest at York. Profitable showed plenty of speed in the Listed Scurry Stakes at Sandown Park in June, finishing 2 lengths second of 9 to his old rival Waady. Just 6 days later he arguably ran the best race of his career so far, finishing 5 ¼ lengths fifth of 18 to Muhaarar in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. He ran 10 lengths 19th of 19 to Mecca’s Angel in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in late August and rounded off his 2015 campaign by finishing 4 ¼ lengths fifth of 11 to Move In Time in a Longchamp Group 3 in September. He made a superb return when landing the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in late April, beating Jungle Cat by ½ a length. The following month he won his first race at Group 2 level, when out-battling Mecca’s Angel by a neck in a slightly controversial finish to the Temple Stakes at Haydock Park, where he hung badly and arguably hampered his rival. However, he proved his victories had been no flash in the pan as he landed the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, beating Cotai Glory by a neck. In early July he stepped up to six furlongs for the Group 1 July Cup and ran well to finish 3 ½ lengths fourth of 18 to Limato. In August he dropped down to five furlongs again for the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes, finishing 4 ½ lengths 6th of 19 to Mecca’s Angel.

Line Of Reason Image reproduced with the kind permission of York Racecourse

Line Of Reason
Image reproduced with the kind permission of York Racecourse

Line Of Reason failed to shine in two starts on the all-weather in the early weeks of 2016 and was well beaten on his return to turf in the Palace House Stakes in late April. Since then, the Paul Midgley trained 6 year old has been much more like his old self and he ran well when 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 9 behind Take Cover in a Listed race at Haydock Park in late May. In mid-June he got back to winning ways at Beverley, beating Red Pike by 1 ¼ lengths. A fortnight later he was 1 ½ lengths third of 4 to stable mate Monsieur Joe at Hamilton Park and he again finished behind that horse when a disappointing 3 ¾ lengths 7th of 8 in a Newmarket conditions race in mid-July. Towards the end of July he stepped up in class for the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood, but disappointed, coming home 6 ½ lengths 15th of 17 to Take Cover. Just over a week later he put that run behind him when running 2 lengths second of 10 to In Salutem at Ascot’s Shergar Cup meeting. He then ran well in a competitive handicap at York’s Ebor Festival, finishing 3 lengths fourth of 20 to Boom The Groom. Ten days later he was in action in the Listed Beverley Bullet, finishing a length 6th of 10 in a thrilling race behind Alpha Delphini. He then ran a disappointing last of 7 behind Priceless in a Listed contest at Doncaster in early September, before running a better race later in the month back at Beverley, coming home 2 ¼ lengths fourth of 9 to Caspian Prince.

Finsbury Square has developed from a useful performer into a smart one since last autumn and has now finished in the first two in his last seven starts. The 4 year old was 1 ½ lengths fourth to Muthmir in this race a year ago but has improved markedly since then. He beat Son Cesio by a head in the Group 3 Prix de Saint-Georges at Deauville in mid-May and the following month ran 2 ¼ lengths third of 8 to the same horse in the Group 2 Prix du Gros-Chene at Chantilly. Towards the end of June he contested a Group 3 at Maisons-Laffitte, running 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 8 to Damila. A month later he was a disappointing 4 lengths 9th of 17 behind Take Cover in the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood. He bounced back to form when landing a Deauville Group 3 in late August, beating Walec by a short head.

Marsha Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Marsha
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Marsha has proved ultra consistent and commands plenty of respect here. The Sir Mark Prescott trained daughter of Acclamation ran a length second to the useful Zhui Feng on her racecourse debut at Kempton Park last September, before landing a Catterick maiden by ½ a length from Grey Morning, later that month. In October she added a second victory with a 3 ¼ lengths defeat of Go Kart in a Dundalk nursery, before running a super race against seasoned sprinter in a Listed race at the same track, finishing an excellent 2 ¾ lengths third of 11 to Take Cover. She ran well on her return in a Newmarket handicap in mid-May, finishing ½ a length second of 11 to Show Stealer. In early June she headed to the Curragh for the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes, running 6 ½ lengths fifth of 9 to Divine. Later in June she got back to winning ways when landing a Listed race at Ayr by 2 ½ lengths from Fine Blend. The following month she made it back to back victories with a career best effort to beat Easton Angel by ¼ of a length in a York Listed contest. In late July she ran well in the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, finishing ¾ of a length fifth of 17 to Take Cover. She then headed to Chantilly in September for the Group 3 Prix du Petit Couvert, coming home 3 lengths second of 13 to Just Glamorous.

Mecca's Angel makes it back to back wins in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes Image by www.healyracing.ie

Mecca’s Angel makes it back to back wins in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

The hugely progressive Mecca’s Angel sets the standard here and will appreciate any rain that falls.. She confirmed that impression with her victory in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August 2015. The Michael Dods trained 5 year old filly made a fine return at Haydock Park in May’s Group 2 Temple Stakes – and was arguably unlucky not to be awarded the race, when she finished ¼ of a length second of 11 to Profitable, having been carried across the course. However, the rematch at Royal Ascot’s King’s Stand Stakes never really materialised, as the mare ran deplorably, coming home 12 lengths 16th of 17 to her old rival. She proved that run to be all wrong as she dominated proceedings in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh in mid-July, beating Brando by 3 lengths. That set her up for a repeat bid in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August – and she did not disappoint, beating Limato by a comfortable 2 lengths.

Porthilly ran second in a Group 3 last autumn, but the bulk of her racing has been conducted at a much lower level than this. The John Hammond trained 6 year old mare won a conditions race at Maisons-Laffitte in July, beating Le Rebel by 1 ¼ lengths. At the end of that month she was a disappointing 4 ½ lengths 7th of 12 behind Silver Rainbow in a Listed Deauville contest. However, in mid-August she had a breakthrough as she landed a Listed race in Hoppengarten, beating Shining Emerald by 1 ½ lengths. She was another to contest the Group 3 Prix du Petit Couvert at Chantilly in early September, running 6 ¼ lengths fifth of 13 to Just Glamorous.

Ardad Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Ardad
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Ardad’s rise was truly meteoric as he went from unraced juvenile to Royal Ascot winner in the space of a week. The son of Zodiac landed a Yarmouth maiden in June by a length from Seed Corn on good to firm ground. Just six days later he made big waves as he landed the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot by 3 ¼ lengths from Savannah’s Dream. He then stepped up to six furlongs for the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket in early July, but struggled, finishing 7 ¼ lengths last of 9 to Mehmas. He again disappointed in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes over six in August, finishing 8 lengths 7th of 10 behind Blue Point. The following month he dropped back down to five furlongs for the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes, beating Legendary Lunch by ¾ of a length to maintain his unbeaten record over the minimum trip.

 

The Group 1 action concludes with the Qatar Prix de la Foret over seven furlongs.

Karar landed back to back victories in minor contests at Maisons-Laffitte and Deauville in July and August, beating Skaters Waltz by a nose on the latter occasion. The 4 year old dropped to six furlongs for a Deauville Group 3 in late August, finishing 1 ¾ lengths 7th of 9 behind Finsbury Square. He then returned to seven furlongs in the Group 3 Prix du Pin at Chantilly in early September, running

Harry’s Son was a smart horse in South Africa and won a Group 1 contest as a juvenile in 2014, as well as last year’s Gauteng Guineas. The 4 year old returned from a long absence when finishing 1 ¾ lengths second of 9 to Safety Check in a Meydan Group 2 in January. The following month he was fourth, beaten 2 ¼ lengths by the same horse in the Group 2 Zabeel Mile. Harry’s Son finished 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 9 to Tryster in the Jebel Hatta and then disappointed in the Group 1 Dubai Turf on World Cup Evening, finishing 8 ¼ lengths 12th of 15 to Real Steel in late March. He has not raced since.

Limato and Harry Bentley win the 2016 Darley July Cup Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Limato and Harry Bentley win the 2016 Darley July Cup
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Limato remains an exciting horse and returns here looking for compensation after running a fine second in last year’s race. The Henry Candy trained 4 year old son of Tagula won his first 5 races after a frustrating summer in 2015, came back to form in Septmeber, when winning Group 2 Park Stakes at Doncastervby 3 ¾ lengths from Markaz. His final start of 2015 came in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret when he made up lots of ground late on to finish 1 ¼ lengths second of 13 to Make Believe. Limato made his return on perhaps not ideal ground, in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May. His first attempt at a mile was respectable, particularly given the stable form at the time, as he came home 2 ½ lengths fourth of 12 behind Belardo. He was not seen out again until the Group 1 July Cup, when he showed a terrific burst of speed to draw clear quickly on the rising ground – and even though he veered dramatically right in the latter stages, he still beat Suedois by 2 lengths. He was supplemented for the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August, but the drop to five furlongs saw him finish 2 lengths second of 19 to Mecca’s Angel.

Suedois Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Suedois
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Suedois is a fascinating addition to the David O’Meara team for 2016 and confirmed himself a smart horse with a superb effort in the Group 1 July Cup. This 5 year old was successful three times in France last year, most notably when landing a Deauville Group 3 in late August by a neck from The Right Man, in very soft ground. He stepped up to 7 furlongs for the Group 1 Prix de la Foret on his final start, finishing 5 ½ lengths 8th of 13 to the outstanding Make Believe. He made his debut for O’Meara in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster in early April and ran on strongly to finish a length second of 13 to Mobsta. In May he ran a belter in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes, finishing ½ a length second of 12 to Magical Memory. He ran another terrific race in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, coming home ¾ of a length fifth of 9 to Twilight Son. The following month he travelled to Newmarket for the July Cup, running 2 lengths second of 18 to Limato; a performance which if replicated. In August he again ran a solid race when finishing 1 ¾ lengths fourth of 15 to Signs Of Blessing in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. A month later he contested the Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock Park, finishing 4 ¼ lengths third of 14 to Quiet Reflection. He now steps up in distance.

Coulsty Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Coulsty
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Coulsty was a fair performer in 2014 and ran 7th to Mustajeeb in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. The Richard Hannon trained 5 year old  returned to action this year over 6 furlongs in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket in mid-April, finishing 3 ½ lengths 7th of 11 to Magical Memory. Nine days later he ran well when 2 ½ lengths second of 10 to Home Of The Brave in a Listed race at Leicester, back over 7 furlongs. He then headed to Haydock Park in early May, finishing 5 lengths fourth of 7 to So Beloved in a Listed contest. In June he ran 5 ¾ lengths 12th of 28 behind Outback Traveller in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot, and ran well in a minor Haydock Park contest in early July, finishing 2 ¼ lengths second of 4 to Glen Moss. Towards the end of that month he won a conditions contest at Thirsk by 2 lengths from Sound Advice and he was not disgraced in the Group 3 Prix du Pin at Chantilly in September, coming home 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 14 to Jallota.

Birchwood Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Birchwood
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Birchwood was a smart juvenile, but has had a mixed campaign in 2016. The Richard Fahey trained 3 year old returned to action in the Group 1 French 2,000 Guineas at Deauville in May, but ran a poor race finishing 17 lengths last of 13 to The Gurkha. In late June he headed to Newmarket for the Group 3 Criterion Stakes; but in heavy ground he floundered and came home a tailed off 7th of 8 behind Breton Rock. A couple of weeks later he landed a Listed contest at Chester by a length from Sovereign Debt. That saw him stepped back up in class for the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood in late July. However, he was a disappointing 11 lengths 7th of 8 to Dutch Connection and was a little disappointing in the Group 3 City Of York Stakes the following month, finishing 4 ¾ lengths fifth of 10 to Nemoralia.

Jimmy Two Times proved a useful juvenile and showed that he had progressed at three when running a head second of 14 to Quiet Reflection in a Chantilly Group 3 in early April. The Andre Fabre colt was a well beaten 10th behind The Gurkha in the Poule D’Essai des Poulains at Deauville in May, but has since dropped in trip and won his last two starts. In early June he landed a Listed contest at Deauville by 1 ¾ lengths from Nordic Dream and he followed-up with a length victory over Jallota in the Group 3 Prix de la Porte Maillot at the same track in early July. The following month he ran well in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, coming home 1 ½ lengths third of 15 to Signs Of Blessing.

Having shown promise when third to Cheikeljack in the Group 3 Prix Djebel in April, Moon Trouble has for the most part failed to fire this year. The Freddy Head trained 3 year old was 7 lengths 8th of 13 to The Gurkha in the Group 1 Poule d’’Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) at Deauville in May, but ran well a month later when 2 ½ lengths second of 8 to Zelzal in the Group 3 Prix Paul de Moussac at Chantilly. In July he ran last of 8 behind Jimmy Two Times in the Group 3 Prix de la Porte Maillot at Deauville and a month later he again disappointed when a well beaten fifth of 9 to Noor Al Hawa in a Listed contest at Deauville.

Attendu Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

Attendu
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

Attendu proved a very useful juvenile last year and was encouraging on his return. The Carlos Laffon-Parias trained son of Acclamation ran with promise on debut, to finish 2 lengths second of 8 to Omar Bradley in a Deauville maiden in late July. He returned to Deauville the following month and got off the mark with a 2 lengths victory over Lefortovo in another maiden. Attendu then stepped up to Group 3 level for the Prix La Rochette at Longchamp in early September, beating Lawmaking by a head. He finished 3 ½ lengths 8th of 11 to Ultra in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp in early October. The following month he ran a lot better in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud, finishing 1 ¾ lengths third of 8 to Johannes Vermeer. He returned to action in the Group 3 Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte in early April, finishing 1 ¼ lengths second of 7 to Cheikeljack after the disqualification of Ribchester. The following month he was a disappointing 9th of 13 to The Gurkha in the French 2,000 Guineas at Deauville, but he bounced back to form in early June, with a 2 lengths defeat of the top class mare Esoterique in a Group 3 race at the same track. He was off the track for two months and returned in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in early August, finishing 2 ½ lengths 6th of 15 to Signs Of Blessing. A month later he ran well to finish 1 ¾ lengths second of 14 behind Jallota in the Group 3 Prix du Pin at Chantilly.

Same Jurisdiction continues to sabbatical from South Africa and is a fascinating runner. The 5 year old mare has twice won Grade 1 contests at Greyville and ran ¾ of a length second of 15 to Inara in the Grade 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes at Kenilworth in late January. She made her European debut in the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster in September, finishing 5 lengths fourth of 7 to Spangled.

The German trained filly Spectre has already made her mark this spring. The Markus Munch trained daughter of Siyouni was fourth on debut last year, before landing a minor contest at Strasbourg in September. Her juvenile campaign rounded off when she finished a length second of 6 to Magnolea in a conditions race at Saint-Cloud in October. However, she sprang a real surprise when landing the Group 3 Prix Imprudence on heavy ground at Maisons-Laffitte in early April, beating Midweek by ¾ of a length. She then headed to the Group 1 Poule d’Esai des Pouliches at Deauville in mid-May, coming home a respectable 2 lengths fifth of 14 to La Cressonniere. She then took on the colts in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly in early July, running 2 ¼ lengths third of 9 to Zelzal. The following month she put up another solid effort in the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, coming home 2 ¼ lengths fourth of 11 to Ribchester. She ran well again in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin at Chantilly in mid-September, finishing 1 ¼ lengths second of 6 to Vadamos.

Having won all four of her starts as a juvenile, Trixia has had a light campaign in 2016 to date. The Alain De Royer-Dupre trained daughter of Siyouni lost her unbeaten record when 3 ¾ lengths fourth of 9 behind Qemah in a Chantilly Group 3 in April. That form has taken on a different look given the winner’s subsequent efforts. Trixia was not seen out again until winning the Group 3 Prix de Lieurey at Deauville in mid-August, beating Chartreuse by a nose. The following month she ran in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin at Chantilly, finishing 6 ¼ lengths fifth of 6 to Vadamos. She now tries beyond a mile for the first time.