This weeks News In Brief features potential Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Gr1) contenders and an update on high-class trotter Flamme du Goutier.
Trainer Freddy Head has announced his imminent retirement from training, planned for the end of this current season. His two children – Christopher and Victoria who are both currently making a name for themselves – will then take up the mantle. Freddy turned 75 in June having won many G1 races as both a jockey (Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Jacques le Marois, Breeders' Cup, and Classics including the Poule d'Essai and two Guineas in England amongst others) and as a trainer of horses such as Goldikova (fourteen G1), Marchand d'Or, Tamayuz and Moonlight Cloud.
Ottilien landed his first black-type race winning the Prix de Turenne (L) over 2400m at St Cloud. David Menuisier believes she is good enough to progress and compete in the Prix de Royallieu (G1) on the weekend of the Arc, at Longchamp. Trained in England the three-year-old filly has won three races, all in France. There are obvious questions surrounding both the increase in grade, distance, and her preference for a soft track.
Fourth in the Prix Rothschild (Gr1), Malavath worked with stablemate Tantpispoureux at Longchamp last Thursday during the late afternoon meeting. Trained by Francis-Henri Graffard and ridden by Mickaël Barzalona, the objective of the work was to view Longchamp, a track she had only raced at once in preparation ahead of (potentially) a start in the Prix de la Forêt before heading to the United States.
Absent since her ninth place in the Prix Jean Prat (Gr1), Mangoustine, winner of the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (G1) at Longchamp in May will next be seen in the Prix de la Forêt (Gr1).
During her first French race in the Prix Jean Romanet (Gr1), Australian race mare Verry Elleegant could do no better than seventh (and last), however a much better performance was delivered when finishing third in the Prix Foy (Gr2) last Sunday week. Both trainer and connections are pleased with her work since, and the decision has been made to pay the supplementary fee and race in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Promising two-year-old filly Wed may next run in the Prix Marcel Boussac (Gr1) on Arc-day. According to her trainer Maurizio Guarnieri, the winner of the Prix Calvados (G2) remains fit and depending upon the strength of the nominations she may go for this race or, alternatively, head straight to Keeneland to run in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Gr1).
Not seen since his fifth place at Longchamp in the Prix Ganay (Gr1) in May, Skalleti was expected to make his return during Arc weekend but his trainer, Jérôme Reynier, advised he will not attempt a third Prix Dollar (Gr2) as he believes he has not had a sufficient prep to date.
Winner of the Prix Rothschild and Sun Chariot [Newmarket, UK] (both G1's), Saffron Beach will be offered for sale at Tattersalls in December. Her record is impressive with five victories of Group races from twelve outings. In addition to two G1 races she also finished second in the 1,000 Guineas (Gr1) at Newmarket and most recently in the Matron Stakes (Gr1) in Ireland. Saffron Beach is from the first crop produced by New Bay (Dubawi), winner of the Prix du Jockey Club (Gr1) from Falling Petals and is a half-sister to Huntdown, placed in the Middle Park Stakes (Gr1).
Carlos Lerner, trainer of La Parisienne confirmed the filly will be ridden by Gérald Mossé in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Gr1). She is reported to be doing well, with all in readiness for a start in the big race. Second in the Prix de Diane Longines (Gr1), La Parisienne then finished third in the Prix Vermeille (Gr1) finishing strongly after being held up for a run.
Onesto, winner of the Prix de Paris and second in the Irish Champion Stakes (both Gr1), is on target to take his place in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1). The hope is for the track to remain good, good to soft.
Last Friday Titleholder became the last of the Japanese horses targeting the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Gr1) to arrive in France. He is based at trainer Satoshi Kobayashi stables. A four-year-old he is the best Japanese chance in the great race. Undefeated this season, his two Arc prep races have been a big seven-length victory in the Tenno Sho-Spring (Gr1, 3200m) in May followed by the Takarazuka Kinen at the end of June (Gr1, 2.200m).
National Defense, winner by 4L of the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (Gr1) died at Widden Stud in Victoria, Australia last week. He was commencing his fourth season at stud in the southern hemisphere. After his first season at the Irish National Stud, he then commenced shuttle duties where his first offspring are due to begin racing. In the Northern Hemisphere National Defense during his first season produced the filly Twilight Gleaming, second in the Queen Mary Stakes (Gr2) at Royal Ascot before winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Gr2) in 2021. He produced 29 foals in his first crop, followed by 32 and has 24 yearlings. In Australia, National Defense has 80 horses ready to make their racetrack debuts and 42 yearlings.
Grand Glory finished seventh in the Prix Vermeille (Gr1) at Longchamp but remains on target for a start in either the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe or Prix de l'Opéra (Gr1's). Trainer Gianluca Bietolini has indicated a decision will be made imminently as to which race to target. She has returned well following her last start, in a race where the pace did not suit her racing style.
Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien has stated Kyprios, winner of the Ascot Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup and Irish St Leger (Gr1's), may next start in the Prix du Cadran (Gr1) whilst English trainer Roger Varian provided an update on Eldar Eldarov, winner of the English St Ledger (Gr1) where a start in the Melbourne Cup (Gr1) is unlikely and a run at Ascot or Longchamp is pencilled in as his final race for this season. The choice of event is either the Prix Chaudenay or the Long-Distance Cup (Gr2's).
Impressive Deauville winner Wonderfull Lady will be immediately targeted for black-type and next seen in the Critérium de Lyon (L) on Thursday September 22.
Trainer Thierry Duvaldestin has revealed the autumn and winter program for Flamme du Goutier. She returned to the track earlier this month on grass at Rambouillet in an unsuitable driven race where she finished eighth. The winner of this years' Prix de Cornulier (Gr.1) will defend her title in January and be ridden by Mathieu Mottier, replacing Antoine Wiels who ended his mounted career earlier this season. The lead-up races will be confined to driven races and the first mounted start will be in the 'Cornulier'. She has also won two other G1 mounted contests and was second in the 2021 Prix du Cornulier.
Third in the European Drivers' Championship last weekend in Belgium, David Bekaert achieved a great second round on the Sunday in Tongeren winning two events. Achieving this success enabled him to qualify for the Championship of World of Drivers which takes place in August 2023 and be held across three European countries, Germany (Berlin and Gelsenkirchen), Belgium (Mons) and the Netherlands (Wolvega). The Championships will have ten participants from Italy, Malta, France (all drivers having qualified) along with three from the organising countries (Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands) plus one representative from Australia, New Zealand Canada, the United States.
Franck Anne recorded his 1000th victory as a trainer at Caen last Monday week. Starting out as an amateur whilst studying, his father, a trainer, died prematurely and Franck assumed the role with his mother. His first high-level victories came when Nouba Turgot took out the Prix des Elites (Gr.1) and Romance du Ruel won three semi-classics including the Prix Ali Hawas (Gr.2). Then followed Vanika du Ruel who was victorious in a G1 quadruple in 2012 – the Critérium des Jeunes, the Prix Albert Viel, Prix de L'Etoile and the Critérium des 3 Ans. Four Group 1s in the same year is a rare achievement. Akim du Cap Vert won the Critérium des 4 Ans (Gr.1) in 2014, then the Critérium des 5 Ans and finished fourth place in the Prix d'Amérique in 2016. Last week Ida de Boitron delivered a twelfth win of the season providing the 1000th career victory.
Current Champion of French apprentice drivers, Nicolas Brossard (19) won his fiftieth race last Sunday steering Jedi Narcy to victory at Agen for his father, trainer, Denis. Last year he represented France at the European Apprentices Championship. This season he has recorded twenty-two wins and heads the apprentice's table.
Five horses, all 'FR' now appear under the ownership of JP McManus and will be based in Ireland. The horses are Sa Majesté, Tekao, Happy Vivo, Indiana Dream and Joueur Masqué.
Last Tuesday week at Auteuil, Libeccio won the Prix Finot Steeplechase (L) and following that victory, big plans are in store with high-class targets including the Prix Georges de Talhouët-Roy Brigitte Ré-Scandella (Gr2) at Auteuil, mid-October.