Group Three winner Trais Fluors heads a classy field of 15 runners for the €52,000 Listed Prix Lyphard (1.37pm local time) over an extended nine furlongs at Deauville, France, on Thursday.
The Polytrack contest is the first of three Fast-Track Qualifiers staged in France during the sixth All-Weather Championships, with the winner guaranteed a free start in the feature £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over 10 furlongs at Lingfield Park on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 19th, 2019.
Trais Fluors (Andre Fabre/Pierre-Charles Boudot) ran third behind Recoletos in the Prix d’Ispahan over nine furlongs at Longchamp in May.
The four-year-old Dansili colt’s only All-Weather start saw him finish second in a mile conditions race on Polytrack at Chantilly in March.
Lucky Team (Joel Boisnard/Theo Bachelot) is a specialist on the All-Weather and produced a 40/1 shock on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park this year when coming with swooping run to win the £150,000 Sun Racing All-Weather Mile Championship.
The six-year-old has had four starts on the All-Weather this autumn since returning from a break, most recently finishing fifth in a conditions race over this distance at Chantilly.
The Andres Wohler-trained Rolando (Mickael Barzalona), one of four German-trained runners, has a victory and two seconds to his name from three starts on Polytrack at Deauville.
The four-year-old has run on turf at San Siro, Italy, on his last two starts. He finished a close third in the nine-furlong Premio del Piazzale Memorial Enrico Camici, though he was not at that level on his latest start when dropped to a mile for the Premio Vittorio di Capua, finishing eighth.
Wohler said today: “Rolando seems to be in good order.
“He ran over a mile last time, which is short enough for him, and to go with that it did not help that the race was slowly run.
“The Prix Lyphard will be a tough race, but he has shown that he likes the track at Deauville and the 1,900 metres is his perfect distance – that is why we are taking our chance.”
The German challenge also includes Kronprinz (Peter Schiergen/Andrasch Starke), a winner at Krefeld, Germany, in April.
There is UK representation courtesy of Jersey Stakes sixth Walk In The Sun (Martyn Meade/Rob Hornby), who is unbeaten in two starts on the All-Weather. The lightly-raced three-year-old Street Sense colt has not raced since being pulled up in a Listed contest at Newmarket in July.
Czech Republic-based trainer Vaclav Luka saddles Maisons-Laffitte Listed scorer Wireless (Bauyrzhan Murzabayev). He finished third in the G3 Prix Bertrand du Breuil on turf at Chantilly in June. The seven-year-old is unbeaten in three All-Weather outings.
Other contenders include lightly-raced four-year-old Normandy Eagle (Freddy Head/Aurelien Lemaitre) three-time All-Weather scorer Replenish (Stephan Cerulis/Vincent Cheminaud), who finished third behind Astral Merit in the 2017 Prix Lyphard, and Lady Sidney (Romain Le Dren Doleuze/Stephane Pasquier) who is a three-time course and distance winner in handicaps.