O’Brien seeks French fillip

FOREIGN raiders outnumber the locals for the French 2000 Guineas, the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, at Longchamp tomorrow, and the 10-runner Classic will also be graced

The Ballydoyle maestro, successful last season with Landseer, fields the Tetrarch Stakes winner France (Mick Kinane), Catcher In The Rye (Kieren Fallon) and Dalcassian (Tom Queally).

There will also be a three-pronged British challenge

Joining David Loder’s supplemented Desert Destiny (Jamie Spencer) are Godolphin’s Bourbonnais (Frankie Dettori) and Gerard Butler’s Elusive City.

The latter, the mount of Eddie Ahern, captured the Prix Morny at Deauville last summer.

Jamie Spencer is looking forward to the ride on the supplemented Desert Destiny. “He’s been training well as has he showed when he won a conditions race at Newmarket,” said Spencer. “This is a big step up but I’d be hopeful of a decent race.

Andre Fabre’s Clodovil, yet to be headed in four attempts, spearheads the local challenge after winning the main prep race, the Group Three Prix de Fontainebleau.

Sign Of The Wolf and Krataios, first and second in Listed company at Saint-Cloud, and Zanyboy complete the four-strong domestic challenge.

The French 1000 Guineas, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, has been similarly well subscribed to by British contenders.

The four British fillies are Londonnetdotcom (Mick Channon), Crystal Star (Sir Michael Stoute), Pearl Dance (John Gosden) and Anyaas (Godolphin) to be ridden by Steve Drowne, Kieren Fallon, Jimmy Fortune and Frankie Dettori respectively.

The eight domestic acceptors are Maiden Tower, Fidelio’s Miracle, Welcome Millenium, Etoile Montante, Musical Chimes, Garlinote, Mes Bleus Yeux and Acago. Criquette Head-Maarek’s Etoile Montante, owned by Khalid Abdullah and the mount of Richard Hughes, may prove the top local contender.

Second to Six Perfections in the Prix Marcel Boussac, the filly failed to do herself justice in the Prix de la Grotte on her return.

The filly ran fourth in that Group Three contest behind the reopposing trio of Maiden Tower, Fidelio’s Miracle and Welcome Millenium, but is expected to improve.

The Prix Lupin, the third Group One event on the card, is a very hot French Derby trial with Dalakhani, Super Celebre and O’Brien’s Alberto Giacometti, all declared.

The unbeaten Dalakhani, for whom trainer Alain de Royer Dupre would like some rain, is an unbeaten Group One winner and he made no mistake on his return in the Prix Greffulhe. He will have the back up of stablemate Diyapour.

Another winner of a recognised French Derby trial, Super Celebre, left a good impression in the Prix Noailles here last month.

The French Group One-winning Alberto Giacometti (Kinane) was a disappointing third in the Ballysax Stakes behind his stablemate Balestrini, for whom Fallon has been booked.

New South Wales, who last year was trained by John Oxx and ran in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed, makes his Godolphin debut in the Prix Lupin.

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