Tony Mullins knows the size of the task facing Princess Zoe when she takes on Kyprios in the Prix du Cadran on Saturday, but believes she can make a race of it at ParisLongchamp.
Beaten 15 lengths by Aidan O’Brien’s new staying star in the Irish St Leger, just 20 days later she somehow has to bridge that gap.
In her favour is that this distance of two and a half miles, in a race she won two years ago, is more in her favour than the 14 furlongs of the Irish St Leger and Mullins is hoping for very deep ground, but he does not think it will be as soft as some are anticipating.
“My girl over there rode Princess Zoe out on the track this morning (Thursday) and she didn’t think the ground was that bad at all – certainly not as soft as it has been the last two years,” said Mullins.
“Admittedly she wasn’t on the racing line so it won’t have been watered, but I don’t think the ground will be as bad as some are saying.
“Looking at the forecasts I don’t think there’s that much rain to come, either. They might get some Friday night. Obviously I hope it’s bottomless!
“She’s in good form but will need to improve a lot to beat Kyprios on her St Leger run. I am expecting her to, but whether she can improve enough is the question.”
There could be one factor that may help the mare, however.
“We’ve had real trouble with her coming in and out of season this year, and I put that down to the very warm summer,” he went on.
“It has stabilised now, that is why I’m convinced she’s better than she was the last day, but we’ve not had a clear run with her this season.
“Kyprios is a champion. To do what he is doing as a four-year-old is so impressive. He’s got the pedigree to be doing it but he’s backing it up.
“Our only hope might be that this will be his sixth run. If there’s a chink in his armour that might be it, but from 14 furlongs to two and a half miles, he has been very impressive.”
Hughie Morrison’s Quickthorn, the Henry de Bromhead-trained Lismore and Brian Ellison’s Tashkhan are among a field of 12.
Also on Saturday is the Prix du Royallieu, which now sees Verry Elleegant among 10 fillies and mares.
The William Haggas-trained Sea La Rosa, David Menuisier’s Ottilien and O’Brien’s Emily Dickinson all run.
Karl Burke’s Al Qareem and Dermot Weld’s Duke De Sessa run in the Prix Chaudenay while Addeybb, Anmaat and West Wind Blows represent the UK in the Prix Dollar.