Five French fancies for Arc day
Ben Linfoot looks at some of the home hopefuls away from the feature race on Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe day at Longchamp.
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LESSTALK IN PARIS (2yo b f, J-C Rouget) - Prix Marcel Boussac
The Prix Marcel Boussac is shaping up to be a fantastic contest with Richard Fahey's Sandiva and Ed Dunlop's Amazing Maria potential raiders from the UK. However, there are a couple of exciting French fillies that stand in their way with Jean-Claude Rouget's Lesstalk In Paris set to be a formidable opponent if she's given the green light. This daughter of Cape Cross is a half-sister to the top-class Dastarhon (runner-up to Style Vendome in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains) and made a striking impression last time when overcoming major trouble in-running to beat Andre Fabre's highly-regarded filly Straight Thinking, who was second to Sandiva in the PMU Prix du Calvados, pretty cosily in the Prix d'Aumale. On a line through Straight Thinking it could well be a close battle between the Rouget and Fahey fillies and with Lesstalk In Paris' stamina assured following two wins from two over a mile, all the chatter could be about her after the race.
ROYALMANIA (2yo ch f, F Head) - Prix Marcel Boussac
This daughter of Elusive Quality looked like a flying machine on debut at Deauville, smashing up her opposition by eight lengths in those famous blue and white Wertheimer silks. Unsurprisingly she was sent off at 1/5 next time in the Prix de la Plaisanterie at Chantilly, but the soft ground may have blunted her speed as she only just beat rank outsider Marietherese (last on debut) by less than a length. Still, she got the job done, and, following encouraging work reports since, it would be no surprise if she took the step up to Group One company in her stride under Olivier Peslier on Sunday.
ECTOT (2yo b c, E Lellouche) - Prix Jean Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium)
With QIPCO 2,000 Guineas favourite Kingman set to take his chance in the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere all eyes will be on John Gosden's colt, but it may pay to keep one iris on the Elie Lellouche-trained Ectot. This son of Hurricane Run is a half-brother to last year's St James's Palace Stakes winner Most Improved and has won three on the bounce in the last three months. His last victory in the Group 3 Prix des Chenes at Longchamp on September 21 was his most impressive. Travelling well before showing a rapid turn of foot, he readily accounted for his rivals and though his future may lie over middle-distances, he's clearly got plenty of toe. If there is a French colt to put it up to Kingman, this fellow could be the one.
CATCALL (4yo b g, P Sogorb) - Prix de l'Abbaye
Rookie trainer Phillipe Sogorb is a name that wasn't uttered much on these shores until last Saturday, when his smart filly Vorda landed the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. She would be his stable star, but he also has a capable sprinter in his care in the shape of One Cool Cat gelding Catcall, a four-year-old who seems to thrive over the five furlongs at Longchamp. He won a Group 3 at the track in May, by a head from David O'Meara's Move In Time, and after a couple of good efforts in better company he was a close third back in Paris on his last start. That was also in Group 3 company and he was a tad unlucky, striking for home too early after initially being slowly away. On that evidence, he might have to be produced right on the line if he's going to win. However, he remains lightly-raced and has bags of potential over the minimum trip, with career form figures of 123 over five.
DOMESIDE (7yo b h, M Delcher Sanchez) - Prix du Cadran
This seven-year-old's career has taken off since he was stepped up in trip to two miles this year. After winning a couple of minor races over a mile-and-a-half at La Zarzuela and Saint-Cloud in March, he was stepped up in class and trip at Longchamp in April and hasn't looked back since. A close third behind Last Train at his first attempt at two miles in the Prix de Barbeville, he's won twice at the distance in two runs subsequently. He emphatically reversed the Barbeville form with Last Train in the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier at Longchamp on May 26, beating Andre Fabre's colt by five lengths, before easily accounting for a decent field in the Qatar Prix Gladiateur-Grand Prix des Benevoles back at Longchamp on Arc trials day. After victories for Arc hopefuls Kizuna, Treve and Orfevre on the same card, he wouldn't be the most obvious winner to take from that autumnal day in Paris. But come the Prix du Cadran on Sunday, this late developer could well be another one to graduate from a trial to the big stage.