ParisLongchamp Sunday

2.40pm Prix D’Ispahan (Group 1) 1m 1f 55y

Tomorrow’s Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan could boil down to a straight fight between Mqse De Sevigne and Blue Rose Cen, two fillies who last year won five French Group 1s between them.

In truth, it is not difficult to choose between the pair given that Mqse De Sevigne has the benefit of a recent run, when defying a penalty to land a listed race at this course six weeks ago, while Blue Rose Cen has been out for approaching eight months and will be having her first start for a trainer, Maurizio Guarnieri, who has saddled just a single winner from his last 44 runners.

Mqse De Sevigne, by contrast, is trained by Andre Fabre, who has started the season in strong form, proved that he has some nice older fillies when Pensee Du Jour won a Group 2 on Monday, and has already landed this race on a record nine occasions.

On last season’s form, Blue Rose Cen might just edge the argument, as her four-length score in the Prix de Diane was the performance of a true champion, and her final outing, when edging home in the Prix de l’Opéra, was despite showing the effects of having endured a long season. This time rustiness, rather than tiredness, may be her undoing.

Notable scalp

Mqse De Sevigne’s best form was not quite on the same level, but she gained a notable scalp when accounting for Via Sistina in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet, and was far from disgraced when chasing home Inspiral in the Sun Chariot Stakes.

The other two previous Group 1 winners in an eight-runner field are Haya Zark, who had everything fall his way in last month’s Prix Ganay having previously come up a fair way short when taking on the best, and last term’s shock Poule d’Essai des Poulains victor, Marhaba Ya Sanafi, who probably posted his best effort since that day when beaten by just a neck in the Group 2 Prix du Muguet at the beginning of this month.

There is no Irish representation, and the two British hopes, Brave Emperor and Checkandchallenge, both look to be up against it, although it would be foolhardy to rule out Archie Watson’s remarkable globetrotter Brave Emperor, who has run in seven different countries in his last eight starts, winning on four occasions, and was hindered by a wide draw and a slow start when given an ambitious Far Eastern target in Hong Kong last month.


Next Best: Blue Rose Cen