Wednesday 24 January 2018

Wachman's Lily can bloom in French Guineas

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Aidan O'Brien launches a four-pronged assault on the first two Classics of the French campaign at Longchamp tomorrow, but it is David Wachman that strikes as having the best chance of delivering for the Coolmore conglomerate on this occasion.

Wachman saddles Fire Lily in the Gallic equivalent of the 1,000 Guineas, the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, and the smart Dansili filly demands respect.

Second to Maybe in the Moyglare in September before filling the same spot behind Elusive Kate over tomorrow's course and distance in the Marcel Boussac, her neck defeat to Homecoming Queen when sent off favourite on her Leopardstown reappearance reads a lot better now. O'Brien's two runners tomorrow, Up and After, were both behind Fire Lily there, and she can confirm that form now on soft ground that she enjoys.

When victorious over After in the Anglesey Stakes at The Curragh last July, it was similarly testing, and you'd struggle to nominate a more deserving winner of the one-mile Group One than Wayne Lordan's mount.

Beauty Parlour, the Christophe Soumillon-ridden market leader, was an easy Group Three winner last time, but the form of that has turned out far from special.

In the colts' equivalent, the Poulains, O'Brien and his son Joseph team up with the supplemented Furner's Green.

With Dragon Pulse and Dabirsim, first and second in the traditional trial for this last month, heading the market, the Ballydoyle handler -- who also saddles Vault -- may reckon that he has a good line on the form, as Dragon Pulse was campaigned in these parts by Jessica Harrington last term.

Second to Light Heavy in the Ballysax before following up at Leopardstown, Furner's Green has clearly progressed from two to three.

However, for all that his stable is in irresistible form, it's hard to envisage him improving past Dragon Pulse. When the pair met in the National Stakes, Dragon Pulse came out well on top in second, and is fancied to reaffirm his superiority now.

Having finished fifth behind O'Brien's Camelot in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket last Saturday, Richard Hannon turns Coupe De Ville out quickly. Peter Chapple-Hyam saddles Free Handicap winner Telwaar and John Gosden is represented by recent Newbury winner Gregorian, drawn widest of all in stall 12.

"The horse is in good form, but he's got a lousy draw," Gosden remarked. "Longchamp is a great track, but it has one major flaw and that is the mile start. If you have eight runners, it's fine, but when you are getting into double figures it really is a terrible draw."

Earlier, O'Brien saddles Athens in the Hocquart, a seven-runner Group Two that could certainly be within the Navan winner's compass.

The Ballydoyle supremo has left two horses in next Thursday's Dante Stakes at York, but is likely to rely on just Ernest Hemingway -- an impressive winner on his Dundalk debut -- as his other entry, Wrote, is set to run at Leopardstown tomorrow. Andrew Balding's Bonfire, a late withdrawal from Friday's Dee Stakes, is among the entries for York's celebrated Derby trial over an extended mile and a quarter.

Roger Varian has indicated Ektihaam, a convincing winner at Newbury last month, will run, while Henry Cecil has left in Frankel's full brother Noble Mission, which has won both of his starts so far this term. The Warren Place trainer has a back-up in Wrotham Heath.

Godolphin's sole representative is the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Mandaean, which won the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud when with Andre Fabre last year.

Gosden is considering this race for 2,000 Guineas sixth Fencing, while the list of entries is completed by Crius, Dream Tune, Miblish and Ptolemaic.

Irish Independent

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