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The French Classics: Andre Fabre has draw concerns for Victor Ludorum

Sat 4 Jul 2020

Andre Fabre is hoping Victor Ludorum can overcome his inside stall in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) at Chantilly on Sunday.

The French 2000 Guineas hero has been handed stall one – which is a good draw for horses that race prominently but could be a disadvantage to horses, like Victor Ludorum, who have to be held up.

Fabre is worried about the effect of the draw for the Shamardal colt, but he has no such feelings about him stepping up in distance from a mile to an extended mile and a quarter, as he seeks to emulate his sire who did the same double in 2005.

He said: “I don’t think the distance is a real worry. The draw, coming from behind, is a bit of a concern, but hopefully there will be a strong pace.

“Chantilly is a tricky course. You need a bit of luck.

“He is training well, everything is fine.”

Fabre has a second leading contender in Ocean Atlantique, a Coolmore-owned son of American Pharoah who is drawn towards the outside in stall 14.

That is not an issue for the master trainer, as he is a different type of horse to his stablemate.

“He’s easier to ride. He breaks well and he’s got good pace and he can make the running. I’m not worried for him,” said Fabre, who has won the race four times, most recently with New Bay in 2015.

“I have two good chances in the race.”

Ocean Atlantique staked his claim for Classic honours with victory in a Listed race at Deauville in May, having been beaten on his seasonal reappearance by the Christophe Ferland-trained Pao Alto in the Group Three Prix La Force at ParisLongchamp.

“Pao Alto is a horse we have always liked and he’s doing quite well,” said Pierre-Yves Bureau, racing manager for the Wertheimer brothers.

“We always thought he was going to be a true three-year-old because of his confirmation.

“We were very happy with his return in the middle of May. He won his Group race nicely so I think he will stay without any problem.

“We have a lot of faith in the horse, but it is a very solid field. We have a good draw (nine), but with 17 runners you have to be concerned about having a clear trip.

“The horse is doing very well and I think the horse has a very good chance to be competitive in the race.

“Of course he is going to meet horses he has never met before – horses coming from a mile and Group One winners. I think it is a very solid group.”

British hopes rest with Mishriff, trained by John Gosden.

The son of Make Believe was an emphatic winner of the Listed Newmarket Stakes last month, on his first run since finishing second in the Saudi Derby in February.

“We are looking forward to it. Obviously we’ve got to beat a French Guineas winner (Victor Ludorum), who looked impressive,” said Ted Voute, racing manager to owner Prince Faisal.

“The form of Mishriff’s race was franked again last week, but there aren’t many form lines between the English and French horses so this will be one of the first to see which is the better.

“After the Newmarket race he was a bit flat. John’s preference was to go to Royal Ascot. As it turned out he was flat, but I saw him last week – he had his head between his knees and was trying to buck his rider off.

“Sadly, David Egan has had to stand down because of the quarantine situation and we’re having to use a French jockey (Ioritz Mendizabal).

“The Prince still owns a third of Mishriff’s sire Make Believe and I think that’s one of the reasons behind him wanting to send him over. If he ran well, it would be good for the stallion.”

Aidan O’Brien saddles Irish Derby fourth Order Of Australia and Fort Myers as he seeks to win the Jockey Club for the first time.

_ALPINE STAR PRIME FOR OAKS _

Alpine Star is reported to be in prime condition ahead of the Prix de Diane, as she bids for Classic glory in France just a couple of weeks after stealing the show at Royal Ascot.

The Jessica Harrington-trained filly has taken her convincing win in the Coronation Stakes so well that connections have opted to go for French Oaks at Chantilly on Sunday.

“She’s in great form so we’ve taken the plunge to run her in Chantilly on Sunday,” the County Kildare trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“She’s a very laid-back filly. I think she will stay and I hope it might bring out some more improvement.

“We thought we’d try this distance rather than go a mile again.”

Aidan O’Brien has yet to win the French Oaks, but has a big chance this year with Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Peaceful.

She will be ridden by Seamie Heffernan, who told Racing TV: “All I need is a bit of luck. I like this filly. It’s a strong race, but I like this filly – she’s never disappointed me.”

Fancy Blue, who was runner-up Peaceful at the Curragh, renews rivalry and will try again to give O’Brien’s son, Donnacha, a Classic triumph in his first season as a trainer.

Speak Of The Devil attempts to go one better after just being touched off in the French 1000 Guineas.

The daughter of Wootton Bassett is one of three runners for Fabrice Chappet, along with Mageva and Magic Attitude.

“Speak Of The Devil was only having her third career start when second in the Pouliches, a nose from the winner,” he said.

“The plan was to have another race before the Pouliches, but the lockdown meant that wasn’t possible. The question for her is one of stamina. Her dam is by Indian Rocket, who passes on a lot of speed.”

Mageva was two lengths behind her stable companion in third place that day.

Chappet said: “Mageva ran in the Pouliches like a filly who could run over further. She was another to give a remarkable performance in Deauville. Neither filly has run at Chantilly before, but they’ve both worked on the racetrack.”

Chappet is hoping Magic Attitude will be more relaxed than she was when second to Tawkeel in the Prix Saint Alary on this course last month.

“Magic Attitude ran a bit free in the Prix Saint Alary,” he said.

“We will ride her more quietly on Sunday. All three fillies deserve to take part in the Diane.”

Solsticia was third in the Saint Alary – but her trainer Andre Fabre feels she might benefit from a change of tack.

“She’s OK. Last time she ran all right but she was hanging a little so we are changing her bit,” he said.

“I hope that will be better and will keep her straight. Her form is enough to run well.”

The only unbeaten filly in the field is the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Raabihah, although she is taking the leap from maiden and Listed company to the top level after wins at Cagnes-Sur-Mer and ParisLongchamp.

“She’s a progressive filly. We’ll see whether she’s good enough. It’s a question of can she take the jump up?” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

“She certainly stays the trip. She’s got a lovely pedigree and she won her maiden well enough, but it was only in January this year.

“Then everything was shut down so she’s only had the one run since. I must say she impressed me that day (at ParisLongchamp), but two runs is a big ask to go and win a Classic on only her third run.

“It’s just nice to have a filly good enough to have a chance. Let’s hope she can show her true colours.”

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