Racing UK

Angus McNae

Vazirabad on course for Coronation

4 May 2016

The Racing UK presenter reports back from the nerve-centre of French Racing ahead of the Planet Turf French Guineas Special. 

Vazirabad to cross The Channel:

A busy day in glorious sunshine took us to the yard of Alain De Royer-Dupre. Having watched his horses on the gallops we interviewed him at one of his yards and he gave us some interesting information on some of his stars. Vazirabad, the impressive winner of the Dubai Gold Cup, will go to the Coronation Stakes at Epsom next month.

According to the trainer, Dariyan, the winner of the Prix Ganay at the weekend, is only really effective on a flat track - undulations are no good for him - and Zarak, am unbeaten colt who is by Dubawi out of Zarkava, may be a superstar but not even Royer-Dupre knows, because he is a typical Dubawi in that he is very lazy at home. He is one to follow.

Arc travel advice

Next up, let me give you some travel advice for the Prix De l'Arc De Triomphe, which will be held at Chantilly in October. I spoke to Matthieu Vincent of France Galop and he gave me the following facts.

Chantilly will look to accommodate 45,000 people on Arc day, but there are only 9,000 parking spaces and if traveling from the UK he strongly recommends getting a train from the Gard du Nord in Paris, where on the day trains will leave every half an hour. There will be an English pub on course, which will please many, and there will be a fascinating race, given the configuration of the track. I decided to run around the new Arc course and with one sweeping and very long bend, where the horses swing downhill and then up again, a wide trip will be fatal to most horse's chances. More of that will follow when we visit Chantilly for a Planet Turf Arc Special after the Arc Trials in September.

Graffard on the up

Finally we went to see the most upwardly mobile trainer in France, namely Francis Graffard. He had 58 winners last year and he has since doubled his string for this year. He has inherited several horses owned by the Niarchos family that were formerly trained by the now-retired Jonathan Pease, and Graffard remains an important part of the Al Shaqab operation.

He is a very patient trainer, and will not be rushing his three-year-olds, nor his stable star Erupt, but when his horses do find their feet they will be worth following. I believe this affable man will become one of the leading trainers in France very quickly. His progression so far has been remarkable.

Watch out next week for Racing UK's French Guineas Planet Turf Chantilly Special ahead of the French Classic at Deauville on May 15 live on Racing UK.

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