Saturday 24 March 2018

Battle Of Marengo set to lead Ballydoyle assault on Paris

Thomas Kelly

Battle Of Marengo spearheads four Aidan O'Brien representatives in Saturday evening's Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.

O'Brien said last week that Derby fourth Battle Of Marengo – which finished runner-up in Royal Ascot's King Edward VII Stakes – was being aimed at the three-year-old Group One over a mile and half.

Mars, which was fourth in last weekend's Coral-Eclipse, Irish Derby third Festive Cheer and possible pacemaker Flying The Flag are also among the 18 left in at the latest forfeit stage.

Andre Fabre is seeking his 12th victory and he has three possible runners at the moment. They are the sponsors' unexposed Flintshire, OTI Racing's recent Listed winner Au Revoir and his Epsom hope Ocovango.

Ocovango lost his unbeaten record when fifth to Ruler Of The World in the Derby and Ted Voute, racing manager for owner Prince Faisal, said: "Andre's very happy with the horse. I saw him at Saint-Cloud recently.

"Andre is a man of few words and he just said that the horse would be going for the Grand Prix de Paris."

Juddmonte also have the John Gosden-trained Excess Knowledge, a close third to Mandour on his reappearance at Sandown last week, while Ann Duffield still has stable star Willie The Whipper engaged.


Newmarket is the big meeting across the water this week and King's Stand Stakes third Pearl Secret was the most notable absentee at the confirmation stage for Saturday's Darley July Cup.

Royal Ascot winner Sole Power heads the Irish assault on the six-furlong showpiece with his trainer, Eddie Lynam, also being represented by Slade Power. O'Brien is double-handed with Reply and his Jersey Stakes winner Gale Force Ten.

Mike de Kock's Shea Shea – narrowly outpointed by Sole Power over five furlongs in the King's Stand – remains the ante-post favourite, while Clive Cox has engaged fifth-placed Reckless Abandon as well as his impressive Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner Lethal Force.

De Kock believes he has little to lose by trying Shea Shea at six furlongs for his rematch with Sole Power. Although a multiple winner over the longer sprint trip in South Africa, his two latest successes since moving from Geoff Woodruff to De Kock have been at the minimum distance in Dubai.

"Shea Shea has done a fair bit more work since he was beaten by Sole Power at Royal Ascot, which will definitely help him," the trainer said.

"At Ascot he had only been in proper work for five weeks following a month of quarantine. He still did everything but win and was only beaten by a very good horse."

James Fanshawe's Society Rock is another notable inclusion.

Irish Independent

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