Miss France has options open
Weather conditions in the Paris area over the weekend will dictate whether Miss France goes for dual Classic glory in Sunday's Prix de Diane at Chantilly.
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Prepared by Andre Fabre to win what was surprisingly his first 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last month, Miss France also has the option of heading to Royal Ascot if the ground is not right.
In what looks a high-class renewal of the French Oaks, she will joined by the same ownership's unbeaten Local Hero when taking on French Guineas winner Avenir Certain and the Aga Khan's highly-rated,and also undefeated, Shamkala.
Anthony Stroud, representing Miss France's owners Ballymore Thoroughbred Limited, said: "Everything has gone well but it all depends upon the rain.
"What we need is good ground, so dry days before Sunday.
"Andre Fabre will look at the ground and make a decision, but she will also be confirmed for the Coronation Stakes next week at Ascot.
"Shamkala is obviously a good filly but she's taking on two Classic winners. Miss France's mother (Miss Tahiti) was second in this race and her brothers stayed well, so she should have a good chance of doing so herself.
"The other horse is also running on her own merits as well as ensuring a good pace."
The Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Shamkala secured her third victory from as many starts with a hugely impressive display in the Prix Cleopatre at Saint-Cloud last month and tests the water at the highest level for the first time.
Georges Rimaud, the Aga Khan's French stud manager, said: "Hopefully she is going with a chance.
"There are two Group One winners in the race, so I would say our filly is a challenger rather than the favourite.
"She is a nice filly and has done everything we have asked of her so far. This is a step up for her, but it is really the only option she has.
"I think we are going there with moderate to reasonable confidence and we hope she will run a nice race.
"His Highness has enjoyed good success in the race in the past, which is great."
Francois Doumen's runner Xcellence was third in the French Guineas and the trainer has a different worry for her.
"The ground was soft in the Guineas, which was in too soft ground for what she wants," he said.
"Her finest quality is her turn of foot - she has the most wonderful acceleration - which she showed in the Prix Imprudence and the Miesque.
"The question you have is, will she stay? Looking at her pedigree, she should stay, but if you look at her races, you have a doubt.
"But she's a month older and that will maybe help her stay a little further.
"She was being considered for the Coronation Stakes but was been bought by Martin Schwartz to run in the Prix de Diane.
"It's a very high-class race with three or four fillies at a very high level, which is quite unusual."