France: Oaks contenders on show in Prix Cleopatre

Andre Fabre

Andre Fabre: has two chances in the Prix Cleopatre

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Preview: France, Wednesday (12.30pm BST)

Saint-Cloud: Prix Cleopatre (Group 3) 1m2½f, turf, 3yo fillies

IT MAY come as something of a surprise that with two of the six runners holding Investec Oaks entries, today’s Group 3 Prix Cleopatre at Saint-Cloud has only one fewer possible contender for Epsom than the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York. 

In some ways Al Naamah has an almost impossible reputation to live up to, having broken the record for a yearling sold at public auction in Europe when knocked down to Sheikh Joaan’s Al Shaqab Racing for five million guineas at Tattersalls in October 2013. 

In that context, the attendant reaction when she failed to beat her own pacemaker Shahah – who also returns here – was understandable.

Trainer Andre Fabre has always seen Al Naamah as a filly in the mould of her sister Was, meaning that the full-throated mile and a half of Epsom is her target, rather than the speed-biased Prix de Diane.

“She had a nice quiet gallop at Saint-Cloud last week,” said Fabre. “I’m happy with her form and it’s going to be an interesting test. She needs to run really well to go to Epsom.”

Little Nightingale also holds an Oaks entry but Mikel Delzangles believes she will have the requisite pace to stay at home for the local version, based on her wide-margin success in a 1m2f conditions race at Maisons-Laffitte, the form of which was franked when third-placed Business Lawyer won at Longchamp last month. 

The trainer said: “It’s an interesting race, albeit there aren’t many runners, and I hope she can back up her good comeback run. The ground is going to be good, if not quicker, and I don’t see that bothering her.”

Moonee Valley bids to put a disappointing reappearance in the Prix de la Grotte behind her and has undoubtedly the best two-year-old form, having beaten the highly-regarded Baltic Comtesse in a Deauville Group 3. 

The wildcard in the line-up is the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Stay The Night, whose two wins have come in minor provincial races but whose mere presence suggests her trainer thinks a good deal of her.


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