04 March 2019
There is quality All-Weather Championships action in France tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5, with Chantilly staging an eight-race Polytrack card including a Fast-Track Qualifier, starting at 1.45pm local time.
Listed scorer Forza Capitano (Henri-Alex Pantall/Vincent Cheminaud, drawn one) heads the eight runners in the €30,000 Prix Anabaa (4.05pm local time) over an extended six furlongs, which is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship over half a furlong shorter at Lingfield Park on £1-million Finals Day, Good Friday, April 19.
The Stephane Wattel-trained City Light won both races in great style last season before going on to score at G3 level on the turf and finish a close second in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Four-year-old colt Forza Capitano started 2018 with Listed success over six furlongs on turf at Chantilly and ended the campaign with a good third behind British raider Snazzy Jazzy in the G3 Prix de Seine-et-Oise at Maisons-Laffitte on October 31. The four-year-old came third on his only All-Weather start in a conditions races over course and distance at Chantilly in October, 2017.
King Malpic (Thierry Lemer/Olivier Peslier, drawn four) finished fourth in the £150,000 Sun Racing All-Weather Mile Championships at Lingfield Park on Good Friday in 2018 and subsequently posted some excellent efforts over sprint trips, notably when second in the six-furlong G3 Prix de Ris-Orangis at Maisons-Laffitte in July.
The six-year-old grey son of King's Best has not raced since finishing second to El Astronaute in a five and a half-furlong Listed race at Maisons-Laffitte on October 13. He is experienced on the All-Weather and has been successful five times in 12 starts on synthetic surfaces.
Gael Lemer, assistant to his father, said today: "King Malpic is all right.
"He had a few weeks holiday not far from home after his run in October and was back in work just before Christmas. He will not be 100 per cent tomorrow, but he is fit enough to have a good chance.
"To be honest, we always thought a mile was his best distance but, with time and age, he is happy over shorter distances. Even last year, we tried him on tracks with no turns and he was happy with that as well. He is versatile.
"His only bad run last year was when he got invited to Korea [finished last of 13 in Keeneland Korea Sprint on dirt]. We felt it was worth a try as everything was paid for but the track did not suit him. Nevertheless it was a good experience.
"The plan is to get him qualified for Finals Day at Lingfield and tomorrow he can get the free ticket."
There are several other contenders with form at Pattern level, including last year's G2 Baden-Baden Goldene Peitsche third Bokoel Koffie (Mauricio Delcher-Sanchez/Tony Piccone, drawn two).
Six-year-old Viscount Barfield (Maxime Guyon, drawn three), a Listed scorer on turf for Andrew Balding in 2017, is having his first start for trainer Pia Brandt. The six-year-old was with Norwegian handler Niels Petersen for the 2018 campaign, with the pick of his efforts a good second in the G3 Polar Cup over seven furlong at Ovrevoll in August.
Sestilio Jet (Andrea Marcialis/Cristian Demuro, drawn eight) has won on his three of his four most recent outings, last time out capturing a course and distance conditions race by a short-neck on November 8 - the four-year-old colt's first All-Weather race.
The eight-strong field is completed by Rayon Vert (Laurent Loisel/Antoine Hamelin, drawn six), successful twice on the All-Weather in 2018, three-time All-Weather scorer Salt Lake City (Benjamin Legros/Mickael Barzalona, drawn seven) and five-year-old Dream Ahead mare Cool Breeze (Larissa Kneip/Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, drawn five).
Elsewhere on the card, G3 winner Trails Fluors (Andre Fabre/Pierre Charles-Boudot), who is already guaranteed a free start in in the feature £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over 10 furlongs on Finals Day thanks to success in a Deauville Fast-Track Qualifier in November, goes in the €30,000 Prix Darshaan (4.40pm local time, eight runners) over an extended nine furlongs.
The opposition is headed by Call The Wind (Freddy Head/Aurelien Lemaitre), who drops markedly in trip after landing the G1 Qatar Prix du Cadran over two and a half miles at Longchamp on his latest start.
Godolphin runner Graphite (Andre Fabre/Mickael Barzalona) is the headline act in the €30,000 Prix Montjeu (2.20pm local time) over a mile. The five-year-old has scored twice at G3 level, the most recent of which came in the Prix Quincey Barriere over a mile at Deauville in August.
Graphite's six opponents include prolific six-year-old Bayoun (Thierry Lemer/Olivier Peslier), who has been successful on nine of his 14 starts to date, and Miracle Des Aigles (Corine Barande-Barbe/Cristian Demuro). Bayoun and Miracle Des Aigles finished second and third respectively behind Volfango in the mile Listed Prix Saonois on Polytrack at Cagnes-sur-Mer on February 16, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Sun Racing Mile All-Weather Championship.
Gael Lemer added: "We are also hoping to get Bayoun qualified for Good Friday. Hopefully, we will be having two runners at Lingfield.
"Bayoun had bad injury at the end of his three-year-old season and spent all of his four-year-old year in the paddock.
"He came back last year and ran a good race to be second in a Listed race Cagnes-sur-Mer last time out.
"There is a good Andre Fabre horse in the race tomorrow, but our horse is very well."