3.25pm Prix d’Ispahan (Group 1) 1m 1f 55yrds
This weekend will see many of Europe’s top mile and a quarter older horses taking to the track. Sadly, with Monday’s mile, one furlong and 55 yards Prix d’Ispahan coming under orders a mere 24 hours after the Tattersalls Gold Cup, run over just a furlong more at the Curragh, the quality of the two races has inevitably been diluted.
The d’Ispahan has in recent years often been the better of the two but this year, with Vadeni defecting to Ireland to take on Bay Bridge and co, the contrary appears to be the case with Onesto, the only previous Group 1 winner in the field, set to make a winning reappearance in the d’Ispahan.
This son of Frankel has been ready to run for some time but, following a below par effort in last year’s Arc, his trainer, Fabrice Chappet, is convinced that he needs decent ground, hence he decided to swerve the Prix Ganay with last year’s Grand Prix de Paris hero when it became clear the ground would be testing there.
Onesto proved when splitting Luxembourg and Vadeni in last year’s Irish Champion Stakes that he is a top class animal, and, for a three-year-old at the end of a long season, he performed highly creditably in the Japan Cup when last seen in November, beaten less than five lengths in finishing seventh. Frankie Dettori has been booked for the ride.
All six of Monday’s opponents will have had the benefit of a recent outing. Perhaps the pick of them is Erevann, who should improve enough from a pipe-opening third in the Group 2 Prix du Muguet to reverse placings with the runner-up, Facteur Cheval.
Light Infantry, from David Simcock’s Newmarket yard, finished just in front of Erevann when second in last August’s Prix Jacques Le Marois. He has been a little disappointing in two 2023 starts but has shaped as if this first try at beyond a mile will suit.
The Owen Burrows-trained Anmaat is the other British hope. He has course experience from beating the reopposing Junko in the Group 2 Prix Dollar in October but might prefer a slightly longer trip.
Ireland is represented by Joseph O’Brien’s Buckaroo, who made a brilliant return from a long absence when accounting for the classy Homeless Songs in a listed event at Leopardstown last month but has more on his plate here.
Next Best: Erevann
Sunday’s big race is the Group 2 Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud, a six-runner 10 furlong and 110 yarda event for older fillies worth €130,000.
This is a truly international affair, with visitors from Ireland, Britain and Germany, but the star attraction is undoubtedly John and Thady Gosden’s Prix de Diane winner, Nashwa, who can make a winning comeback from her winter break under regular rider Hollie Doyle.
Joseph O’Brien runs last year’s Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary heroine Above The Curve, but she was very disappointing at the Curragh four weeks ago and the one to chase Nashwa home could be the German mare India, who landed the sixth stakes race of her career when successful in Group 3 company at ParisLongchamp last month.