Arc Trials preview: Cracksman gunning for Chantilly glory in Prix Niel

Sat 9 Sep 2017

By staff

Owner Anthony Oppenheimer believes Cracksman should thrive on the likely ease in the Chantilly ground in the Prix Niel on Sunday.

The Frankel colt, who finished third and second respectively in the English and Irish Derbys, ran out a six-length winner of the Great Voltigeur at York in conditions with some cut, and Oppenheimer is anticipating similar going for John Gosden's charge.

He said: "It should be good to soft ground, I think. It's been drying there and it drains well. It was good to soft at York and he ran well there - it may even give him an advantage as he seems to really relish it.

"I would like to run him as a four-year-old so we don't want to give him a really hard race this year. 

"He's a horse we know is getting stronger by the day. We want him to enjoy his racing and if he goes on to race at four, he will have some hard races then.

"There are only five runners on Sunday, but we will leave the tactics to the jockey."

Cracksman is the only British runner in a five-strong field.

Andre Fabre has trained a record 11 previous winners of the mile-and-a-half Group Two and is double-handed with Prix Eugene Adam winner Finche and Avilius, who was third in the same race before placing behind Eminent in the Prix Guillaume d'Ornano.

"Finche is in very good condition, he's a very progressive horse and I think the extra two furlongs will really help him," said Fabre. "Avilius is very genuine and consistent and is working well, so I hope he will run a good race, too."

Pascal Bary's Ice Breeze and Waldemar Hickst's German challenger Walsingham are the other runners.

The Prix Foy is the other Arc trial on the card and all eyes will be on Japanese contender Satono Diamond, winner of two Group Ones and the mount of Christophe Lemaire.

Fabre has claimed this event eight times and fields Cloth Of Stars and Talismanic for Godolphin.

He said: "Cloth Of Stars is a Group One winner and we have kept him fresh for an autumn campaign. It is a tough race, but he is working well and has a good turn of foot and should take some beating.

"Talismanic won his last race at Saint-Cloud well and has been doing good since, so I hope he will run well."

Silverwave, German runner Dschingis Secret and Satono Diamond's pacemaker Satono Noblesse make up the six-strong field.

Charlie Appleby's Endless Time is one of six British-trained challengers as she tries to improve upon last year's second in the Group One Prix Vermeille and follow up her recent Goodwood win.

Appleby said: "It was a good performance on her last start at Goodwood. One thing she does love is ease in conditions and it looks like that's what we're going to get there at Chantilly on Sunday. A repeat performance of last year's run in that puts her bang there."

John Gosden runs Journey and The Black Princess, with the Roger Varian-trained Ajman Princess, Andrew Balding's Blond Me and Luca Cumani's God Given making up the raiding party.

Godolphin have a second contender in the Fabre-trained Strathspey, who steps back up in distance to 12 furlongs. The trainer said: "She ran well in Deauville and I think the extra distance of the mile and a half will help her.

"Her form is maybe not so strong, but she has a great turn of foot and I think she will run well."

Left Hand won the Vermeille last year and connections believe the Carlos Laffon-Parias-trained runner is beginning to return to form.

Pierre-Yves Bureau, racing manager for owners the Wertheimer brothers, said: "It has taken a little bit of time to get her back to her best this year, but she ran a very good race in the Romanet.

"She was a bit unlucky, but she showed she is back to a very good level.

"Carlos has been very happy with her since Deauville and we think stepping back up to a mile and a half will suit her."

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