Lingfield Offers Epsom Clues

   Sandwiched in between the Derby and Oaks trials of Chester and York, Lingfield stages its own prep races for both Epsom Classics on Saturday before Classic action unfolds again in France on Sunday. It was only four years ago that Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Anapurna (GB) (Frankel {GB}) revived the Listed Derby and Oaks Trials by doubling up on the first Friday and Saturday in June and with the major yards represented close inspection is required.

In the Derby Trial, the two colts who went to post for the Listed Newmarket S. just eight days ago, Circle Of Fire (GB) (Almanzor {Fr}) and Waipiro (Ire) (Australia {GB}), venture forth again to try and squeeze into what could be an open contest next month.     While Waipiro was unable to take part at Newmarket after Tom Marquand was kicked, The King and Queen Consort’s Circle Of Fire showed up with promise in the 10-furlong contest and it is notable that he is backing up uncharacteristically for a Sir Michael Stoute charge. Obviously connections are still harbouring an outside dream of the Royal colours being carried at Epsom, while Waipiro’s trainer Ed Walker could be about to relive the buzz that his 2020 Lingfield Derby Trial winner English King (Fr) (Camelot {GB}) provided.

“The tight nature of this track I don’t think will suit many Derby-type horses, but he’s a well-balanced horse and I would rather run on the all-weather than heavy ground,” he said. “We don’t have a heap of mile-and-a-half horses to compare him to, so we need to compare them to other peoples. So we go there knowing as much as you do really.”


One For Inquiring Minds

If ever a son of Kingman (GB) was going to have a genuine Derby contender, it would be in the mould of Anthony Oppenheimer’s Inquiring Minds (GB) whose dam Precious Ramotswe (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) was successful in the 14-furlong G3 Bronte Cup. Impressive on his 10-furlong debut at Newcastle 11 days prior to this test, the John and Thady Gosden trainee is another who is being sent back into action unusually quickly for a stable renowned for patience. “This will tell us what kind of standard he is,” Oppenheimer said of the homebred, who bids to provide the stable with its first winner of this since Percussionist (Ire) in 2004. “The King Edward is the sort of race one thinks he might enjoy–I would think he will be more suited to Ascot. I think he is quite useful, but I don’t think he’s number one in the stable, so I don’t think we can expect too much.”


A Valid Point?

With the switch to the Polytrack for the two Classic trials, it may be that proven form on the surface counts for a lot. For all the proven class of Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum’s TDN Rising Star and G1 Fillies’ Mile third Bright Diamond (Ire) (El Kabeir) and Ballydoyle’s G3 Prix Penelope third Be Happy (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), Godolphin’s pair Eternal Hope (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) and Sunset Point (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) have won at Chelmsford and at this track respectively. The latter, who scored by seven lengths on her 3-year-old bow in a Windsor handicap last month, is a daughter of Hidden Gold (Ire) (Shamardal) who captured the Listed River Eden Fillies’ S. over this track and surface and who hails from the ultimate Epsom family of Galileo (Ire), Sea The Stars (Ire) and Masar (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}). “Both don’t look out of place in the field and this should give us a gauge for their future,” trainer Charlie Appleby said.


Draws Made For Poulains and Pouliches

ParisLongchamp’s G1 Emirates Poule d’Essai des Poulains and G1 Emirates Poule d’Essai des Pouliches took their final shape on Friday, with manageable fields of 10 for both negating the worst effects of the draw. On that front, there was good news for Wathnan Racing as their high-profile acquisition Isaac Shelby (GB) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) is in stall one for the colts’ Classic next to Malcolm Parrish’s likely favourite American Flag (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}). Aidan O’Brien is to be represented only by ‘TDN Rising Star’ Hans Andersen (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who breaks from stall six which is also the draw handed to the stable’s sole Pouliches representative Never Ending Story (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}).


Inside Post For Blue

Yeguada Centurion SL’s G1 Prix Marcel Boussac and G3 Prix de la Grotte scorer Blue Rose Cen (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) was handed stall one for the Pouliches, with Jean-Claude Seroul, Haras d’Etreham and Riviera Equine’s Ritournelle (Fr) (Camelot {GB}) next door in two. While Blue Rose Cen should be sent forward from that favourable draw, Ritournelle who was beaten a head by Showay (Fr) (Galiway {GB}) in the G3 Prix Imprudence at Deauville will be arriving late on her return to a mile. “I did regret not running her in the 1000 Guineas, given that the ground at Newmarket was riding soft and because she loves a straight course,” trainer Jerome Reynier admitted. “Ritournelle has done nothing but improve with each race, her preparation has gone well and so we can go to into the race calmly and confidently.”


Can Rouget Turn It Around?

This season has hardly gone to plan for Jean-Claude Rouget, with most of the Classic trials for once passing him by, but in The Aga Khan’s Valimi (Fr) (Teofilo {Ire}) and White Birch Farm’s Kubrick (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) he has two live Poulains contenders. Valimi, who took April’s course-and-distance Prix Machado conditions event, has the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Val Royal (Fr) in his pedigree while Kubrick’s half-brother Raging Bull (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}) has two top-level successes to his name at the trip. “Valimi and Kubrick did their final serious pieces of work on the grass at Deauville racecourse on Tuesday–the ground was very soft and they were not visibly inconvenienced by it,” Rouget said. “Both were giving me concern in this respect beforehand, especially Kubrick. He made a good return [when fourth] in the Prix Djebel and I was satisfied with his performance. Valimi improved for his return effort at Saint-Cloud and very quickly set the record straight last time.”


Testing Ground For Sunday

Charles de Cordon, who has the task of preparing the track at ParisLongchamp, is expecting the mile Classics to be stamina tests. “It has rained a lot in the Parisian region during the first part of the week, but the track has been drying out,” he said. “We expect the ground to ride very soft on Sunday and anticipate a penetrometer reading of around 3.9. There will be a 10-metre strip of fresh ground and the open-stretch, five metres out from the running rail, will also come into play.”

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