Dalakhani on course for French derby

Dalakhani remains on course for a crack at the Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) after extending his unbeaten record to four races in the Group Two Prix Greffulhe at Longchamp today.

Dalakhani remains on course for a crack at the Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) after extending his unbeaten record to four races in the Group Two Prix Greffulhe at Longchamp today.

The three-year-old son of Darshaan had not been seen on the track since winning the Group One Criterium International last November, but his lay-off did not seem to inconvenience him as he took over from the weakening Victory Taita in the straight.

Although Jipapibaquigrafo finished to good effect, the Alain de Royer Dupre-trained runner never looked like getting caught and Christophe Soumillon’s mount won a shade cosily by half a length.

The Aga Khan, who owns Dalakhani, now expects him to line up in the French Derby at Chantilly on June 1.

He said: “I am very happy that the colt remains unbeaten. Dalakhani will either head direct to the Prix du Jockey-Club or proceed via the Prix Lupin.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Tomahawk was a somewhat unlucky fourth in the Group Three Prix de Fontainebleau earlier on the same card.

The Irish colt found himself dressed up with nowhere to go in the mile event, which is a trial for the French 2000 Guineas.

This left Michael Kinane with little choice but to swing to the outside in order to find racing room on the Irish challenger.

Tomahawk produced a strong finishing kick once clear, but the post came too soon and the favourite went down by a neck, a nose and a short head.

Connections of Tomahawk were pleased with the way the colt finished but the race proved a bonanza for trainer Andre Fabre whose Clodovil stole the show from stablemate Shuttle Diplomacy.

Snipewalk took minor honours a nose further away with Tomahawk fourth while L’Archonte and Gript completed the finishing order in a typical French blanket finish.

Roland de Longevialle, racing manager of the winning owners, the Lagardere family, said: “All he doors are open for Clodovil and it is now full steam ahead to the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas).”

Etoile Montante, second to current Sagitta 1000 Guineas ante post favourite Six Perfections in the Prix Marcel Boussac last October, failed to give that form a boost when she was only fourth in the Prix de la Grotte.

Although it was not a totally disappointing run, the front running Miswaki filly, who is also entered at Newmarket, was entry was beaten over half a length as Sheikh Mohammed’s Maiden Tower sprang a 14-1 surprise.

Fidelio’s Miracle was second to give trainer Henri-Alex Pantall a one-two in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas) prep.

Criquette Head-Maarek, trainer of Etoile Montante, was not too disheartened with her charge’s performance, adding: “Etoile Montante needed the race and hasn’t quite come in her coat yet.”

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