On Sunday, Chantilly hosts an important afternoon of racing as the Arc Trials Day switches from its traditional home of Longchamp.
The big race action gets underway with the Group 2 Prix Niel for three year old colts, over 1 ½ miles.
Midterm heads the field and is a fascinating runner, having looked a nice Derby prospect until injury intervened. There was plenty of interest in Midterm before he ever saw a racecourse, on account of the fact his parents are the superstars Galileo and Midday. The Sir Michael Stoute colt made a winning debut at Newbury last October when showing good resolve to beat Magnum by a length in good to soft ground. Hewas talked of as a Derby horse thereafter and went some way to justifying the talk when he beat Algometer by 1 ½ lengths after a protracted fight up the Sandown Park straight in the Group 3 bet365 Classic Trial. However, the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York proved a disaster as he suffered injury, finishing 7 ¾ lengths fifth of 12 behind Wings Of Desire. He now makes his long-awaited return.
Darabad comes here in winning form but overall, does not look strong enough. The Alain De Royer-Dupre trained son of Dansili has won just once from six career starts, when beating Tamelly by a neck in a Listed race at Clairefontaine in late August. This is a huge step up in class.
After running down the field on his juvenile debut, Doha Dream shaped well next time out to finish 3 lengths second to the smart filly Qemah. This year, the Andre Fabre trained son of Shamardal has really blossomed, with four victories, but he now takes a big leap in class. He won at Fontainebleau and Saint-Cloud in the spring before finishing ½ a length second of 6 to Tres Rock Glory in a Listed contest in early May. In early July he landed a Listed race at Nantes by 4 lengths from Dandy D’Arcis and he added a second win at that level when defeating Kidmenever by 3 ½ lengths at Vichy in late July. This is much tougher.
Carzoff is another who looks completely exposed here. The Alain Couetil trained son of Zoffany won a minor contest in late April but has been well beaten since. Last time out he was 1 ¼ lengths fourth of 8 to Qatari Gold in a minor contest at Deauville in mid-August.
Makahiki aims to book his place in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe line-up and represents Japan. 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.
Next up comes the Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille over 1 ½ miles for fillies and mares.
The filly Candarliya proved hugely talented last year, winning four on the trot before finishing 6 lengths second of 9 to a very in-form Treve in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille at Longchamp last September. The 4 year old daughter of Dalakhani then won the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu by 1 ½ lengths from Lady Of Kyushu. She returned to action by running ¼ of a length second of 12 to Fly With Me in a Chantilly Group 3 in April, on her first attempt at 15 furlongs. A month later she was a little disappointing as she dropped in trip, finishing 3 lengths third of 11 to Speedy Boarding in the Group 2 Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud. She returned to that track in mid-July to land the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil by 2 lengths from Launched. However, she was a big disappointment in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay at Deauville in late August, finishing 3 ½ lengths second of 8 to Nearly Caught. She now takes a sharp drop in trip.
Endless Time looked useful earlier in the year but disappointed at York last time out. The Charlie Appleby trained 4 year old daughter of Sea The Stars ran fifth on her juvenile debut in 2014, but later that month narrowly won a Kempton Park maiden. She made her 2015 debut a winning one when slamming Justice Belle by 8 lengths in a Salisbury handicap in mid-May and just over a week later she completed her hat-trick of victories when defeating Simple Verse by ¾ of a length in a Goodwood handicap, a performance that took on greater relevance as the season progressed. After a break she flopped badly when only 9th to Gretchen in the Listed Chalice Stakes at Newmarket, but two months later she recorded back to back victories, firstly on the Rowley Mile, landing a handicap in early October by 1 ¾ lengths from Twitch and following-up just over two weeks later with a 4 ½ lengths defeat of Almela in a Listed race at Naas. She was not seen out again until making a winning return in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock Park in early July, beating Furia Cruzada by ½ a length. She then had a few weeks off before returning in the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks in late August, but was a disappointing tailed off 9th of 12 behind Seventh Heaven.
Golden Valentine comes into this race with a very progressive profile and looks a danger to all. The Freddy Head trained daughter of Dalakhani won her only start at two, but was last of five on her return in a minor contest at Compiegne in late April. That was not her true form and she got back to winning ways with a win at Chantilly in late May, running well at that track in a Group 3 contest in June, when beaten by Spring Master by a short head. She landed a Listed race at Saint-Cloud in mid-July by a neck from Last Tangoinparis, before recording her biggest success to date as she won the Group 3 Prix Minerve at Deauville by 1 ½ lengths from The Juliet Rose in mid-August.
The Juliet Rose comes into this contest having run well this year and now taking on the colts. The Nicolas Clement trained daughter of Monsun was impressive in her only race at two, in heavy ground at Saint-Cloud, last November. She returned in the Group 3 Prix Penelope at the same track in April, finishing 1 ¾ lengths second of 9 to Camprock. The following month she landed a Listed race at Chantilly when beating Olala by a length. She returned there on French Derby Day in early June, landing the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont by 1 ½ lengths from Al Wathna. She was a bitter disappointment in the Group 1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly in mid-June, finishing 13th of 16 behind La Cressonniere in a very rough race. After a break she ran well in the Group 3 Prix Minerve at Deauville in mid-August when 1 ½ lengths second of 9 to Golden Valentine.
Highlands Queen was unraced at two, but after running a promising second on debut in March, has made a steep climb in progression. The daughter of Mount Nelson won both her subsequent starts, beating Mango Tango on each occasion, most recently when landing the Group 3 Prix Cleopatre by 5 lengths at Saint-Cloud in late May, before she was disqualified in the Group 1 Prix de Diane in a rough house race. She returned to action as good as ever in the Group 2 Prix de Pomone at Deauville in mid-August, beating Mango Tango again, this time by 2 ½ lengths.
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.
The Group 1 action continues with the Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp over a mile.
Dutch Connection proved a very classy individual last season has run well in his last two starts. The Charlie Hills trained 4 year old colt made his comeback in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas last May and ran a reasonable, if unspectacular race when 7 ¾ lengths seventh to Gleneagles at a time when his stable was quieter than now. He then dropped down to 7 furlongs for the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and came back to his best form to beat Fadhayyil by ½ a length. In July Dutch Connection was sent to Chantilly for the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat over a mile, putting up a fine performance to finish ½ a length second of 8 to Territories. Later that month he was second again, beaten ½ a length by Toormore in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He had just one more race, when contesting the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile in Keeneland in early October, finishing 3 ½ lengths fifth of 12 to Grand Arch. He made a fine return to action when a battling ¼ of a length second of 7 to old rival Toormore in the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown Park in late April. The following month he took his chance in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, but was a disappointing 21 lengths 9th of 12 to Belardo. In early July he ran much better in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot, finishing 2 ¼ lengths second of 10 to Mutakayyef and at the end of that month he confirmed his improvement when beating Home Of The Brave by 1 ¾ lengths in the 7 furlong, Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. Less than a fortnight later he dropped in trip for the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, finishing well to come home 2 lengths fifth of 15 to Signs Of Blessing.
Vadamos began this year with a fine effort at Chantilly in March, when he finished 1 ½ lengths second to the mighty Solow. He then flopped badly in the Dubai World Cup towards the end of that month, finishing a tailed off 11th of 12 to California Chrome. Just over a month later, the Andre Fabre trained 5 year old was back to winning ways, beating Ervedya by 3 ½ lengths in the Group 2 Prix du Muguet at Saint-Cloud over a mile. Back up to 10 furlongs, he was a well beaten 12 ½ lengths fourth of 9 behind A Shin Hikari in heavy ground in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly in late May. Vadamos again came back to form over a mile when beating Mr Owen by 3 lengths in the Group 3 Prix Messidor at Maisons-Laffitte in mid-July. A month later he ran a cracker in the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, finishing ½ a length second of 11 behind Ribchester.
Zarak has been in the public eye pretty much since he was born. The Alain De Royer-Dupre colt is a son of Dubawi, out of the outstanding Zarkava – and as such he has mighty shoes to fill on the racecourse. He is unbeaten in two starts to date, having won his only juvenile start by 1 ¼ lengths from Qatar Dream at Deauville last October. He made a winning return at Maisons-Laffite in April, doing it from the front, he held off the challenge of George Patton to win by a neck. Like the rest of the field, he had no answer to the turn of foot shown by The Gurkha in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas), finishing 6 ½ lengths fifth of 13 at Deauville in mid-May. The following month he ran well in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, finishing 1 ½ lengths second of 16 to Almanzor. He again gave best to that rival in a Deauville Group 2 in mid-August, coming home a length second of 9. He now drops back down to a mile.
Zelzal comes into this race with only one blemish to his career and having looked a superstar last time out. The Jean-Claude Rouget trained son of Sea The Stars won a Deauville maiden in early March, beating Qassem by 6 lengths. A month later he was successful in a Chantilly conditions race, defeating King Malpic by 4 lengths. He then made his turf debut in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) at Deauville in mid-May, finishing a disappointing 12 lengths 11th of 13 to The Gurkha. The following month he restored some of his reputation when landing the Group 3 Prix Paul De Moussac at Chantilly by a clear cut 2 ½ lengths from Moon Trouble. In July he showed an excellent turn of foot as he landed the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly by 2 lengths from Stormy Antarctic.
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.
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 other big race on the card is the Group 2 Qatar Prix Foy for older horses, over 1 ½ miles.
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 tun 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 has not raced since.
Elliptique comes into this contest on a career high, having won a German Group 1 contest on his latest start. The bulk of the 5 year old Andre Fabre trained horse’s form suggests he has something to find here, but he won a minor contest at Chantilly in early March by a length from the useful Manatee. After a break he ran in the Group 2 La Coupe at Chantilly in late June, finishing 2 lengths second of 7 to Air Pilot. After another break, he won the Group 1 Grosser Dalmayr Preis – Bayerisches Zuchtrennen in Munich by ½ a length from Royal Solitaire.
Ito has been added to this field but does not come here in the same form as last year. The Jean-Pierre Carvalho trained 5 year old landed the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Bayern last November and made a winning return when beating Sirius by ¾ of a length in a Group 2 at Cologne in early May. Later that month he was a little disappointing when 4 ¼ lengths third of 8 behind Iquitos in a Baden Baden Group 2. He was not seen out again until running poorly in the Group 1 Grosser Dalmayr Preis – Bayerisches Zuchtrennen in Munich in late July, finishing 5 ¾ lengths 8th of 12 behind Elliptique.
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 has not won since. 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.