James Doyle is relishing the chance to once again link-up with Warm Heart in the Qatar Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
The 35-year-old was in the saddle aboard Aidan O’Brien’s Royal Ascot scorer when she notched her first Group One victory in the Yorkshire Oaks last month and she now has the opportunity to add another big-race success to her CV in the feature contest on Arc trials day.
The daughter of Galileo arrives in the French capital having won four of her last five starts and advertised both her class and courage when victorious on the Knavesmire, beating Free Wind and her Irish Oaks-winning stablemate Savethelastdance.
Doyle said: “I’m really looking forward to it, it looks like they have had a warm week over there and as we know she likes fast ground so hopefully that will suit her.
“She’s very tenacious, she showed that at York when Free Wind came up to her. She certainly tries hard and has a good cruising speed as well.
“I feel very lucky to be called upon and fingers crossed it will be a big weekend.”
O’Brien said of his runner: “She’s in good form and her last run at York was very good.
“She likes nice, fast ground and she’s very comfortable at a mile and a half so we’re looking forward to seeing her run again.
“She probably won’t run get to run in this part of the world after Sunday as the ground might get soft so she might head for the Breeders’ Cup, if everything went well.”
Coolmore are also represented by Joseph O’Brien’s consistent performer Above The Curve, while William Haggas’ Sea Silk Road gets another crack at Group One action in a race the raiders have done well in recently.
Local hopes will rest with Blue Rose Cen, who has helped propel trainer Christopher Head to the top tier of the training ranks and now the dual Classic winner will have her stamina put to the test as connections contemplate a tilt at the Arc.
The high-class daughter of Churchill would need to be supplemented for Europe’s richest middle-distance contest, but a strong showing in her first try at a mile and a half would give Head and owners Yeguada Centurion SL plenty to think about.
“She’s doing fine and she goes into the race very well,” said Head
“We are trying her over a distance that is very different from the beginning just to see what we will do in the future. We need to see what she can do over 2,400 metres to be sure about what we do over the next year.
“There is still the possibility she will get supplemented for the Arc. That will all depend on the result of the Vermeille and her aptitude over that kind of distance.”
Francis-Henri Graffard’s hat-trick-seeking Melo Melo and Fabrice Chappet’s Crown Princesse are others to note from the home team, with the latter just under four lengths adrift of Warm Heart in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot after a near miss in the Prix Saint-Alary.
The daughter of Zarak has not been seen since the Royal meeting, but Chappet is confident she is fighting fit ahead of her return to action.
He said: “She will be ready to go again.
“Everything is all good with her. She’s entered in the Prix de l’Opera as well as the Arc and we will take it step by step. We will have to see how she runs on Sunday.”
Pascal Bary’s Feed The Flame is as short as 7-1 for the Arc following his course-and-distance triumph in the Grand Prix de Paris and he will bid for more joy on the Bois de Boulogne in the supporting Qatar Prix Niel.
His rivals include German Derby winner Fantastic Moon – who skipped an intended run in the Grosser Preis von Baden last Sunday in favour of quicker ground – and French 2000 Guineas scorer Marhaba Ya Sanafi who tries a mile and a half for the first time.
Prix Ganay winner Iresine will defend his Qatar Prix Foy on the card, while Andre Fabre used the Group Two contest to prepare Waldgeist for Arc glory in 2019 and will now bid to repeat the dose when saddling Place Du Carrousel, the conqueror of Nashwa in last year’s Prix de l’Opera.