Tuesday 21 November 2017

O'Brien hoping to plunder French Oaks with Kissed

Thomas Kelly

Leading owner the Aga Khan holds a strong hand in the Prix de Diane -- the French Oaks -- at Chantilly tomorrow.

Three fillies will run in the famous colours, with Sagawara appearing to hold the strongest claims, having won a Group One in the Prix Saint-Alary.

Trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre, she will be joined by stablemate Dalkala, unbeaten in all her three starts to date, and Jean-Claude Rouget's Valyra, which will be ridden by Johnny Murtagh.

Christophe Lemaire is retained by the owner in France and he had the choice of all three, in the end coming down on the side of Dalkala.

"Christophe had the choice of all three runners, not just my two," said Royer-Dupre. "She was very impressive the last day at Saint-Cloud in a Group Three, but I'm a little bit worried about the ground.

"It may be a little soft for her. I always think Giant's Causeway's are better on good ground.

"I have no doubts about her condition, the race is at the right time for her, it's just the ground.

"Sagawara will be okay on the surface, she has had two runs on soft ground and coped with it. Her dam is by Linamix and I'm sure she will adapt well.

"She is already a Group One winner. Normally the Saint-Alary is not good timing to run in the Diane, but I hope it didn't take too much out of her," he said.

Aidan O'Brien has two runners with Joseph O'Brien riding Kissed, a late scratching from the Epsom version due to quick ground. She will be joined by Up, ridden by Ryan Moore.

Owner Derrick Smith, part of the Coolmore triumvirate, will also see his silks carried by Andre Fabre's Petite Noblesse.

However, they will all have to be on the top of their game to beat Elie Lellouche's talented Beauty Parlour

Unbeaten in four starts, the daughter of Japanese superstar Deep Impact won the French 1000 Guineas in the style of a top-class animal.

Irish Independent

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