French raiders plot big race glory
Sahpresa will be running for the first time on the July Course, having taken consecutive editions of the Sun Chariot Stakes over the Rowley Mile.
French racing expert Isabel Matthew of Turfcom rates the prospects of Saphresa and Lily of the Valley in Friday's feature race at HQ.
Friday's card at Newmarket could set the scene for further French cross-channel success, when Sahpresa and Lily Of The Valley take on their English and Irish counterparts in the Falmouth Stakes.
Dual Group 1 winner and likely favourite Sahpresa (matched as low as [3.6] in Betfair's antepost market), trained by Rodolphe Collet (whose Nova Hawk finished second in the Coronation Stakes), will be running for the first time on the July Course, having taken consecutive editions of the Sun Chariot Stakes over the Rowley Mile.
The six-year-old made an impressive seasonal debut last month when easily accounting for former 1,000 Guineas favourite Moonlight Cloud (subsequently won a Group 3 last Saturday) over seven furlongs at Longchamp by one-and-a-half lengths, and looks spot on for this event.
Reunited with Christophe Lemaire, the daughter of Sahm has been targeted for the Falmouth, bypassing the Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot in favour. Collet said, "Sahpresa is a good ground horse and they have forecast some rain, so I hope there will not be too much. A little shouldn't inconvenience her, and with the right ground, I think she has a first rate chance."
Highly regarded, Lily Of The Valley's trainer Jean-Claude Rouget has indicated the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (although she has yet to try the distance) as a target later in the season for the filly. The daughter of Galileo is stepping down to a mile for the first time since taking a Listed event just over a year ago.
Winner of six starts in a row last season, Lily Of The Valley finished 2010 with a decisive victory over stablemate Stacelita in the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp for her connections.
The four year old's winning sequence was shattered in May, when the filly finished fifth of sixth, beaten seven-and-a-half lengths behind Sarafina in the Group 2 Prix Corrida (1m3f). This run can be forgotten however, as she found trouble in-running, and could never recover to take a place.
Lily Of The Valley will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon in the Falmouth, who has a 100% strike rate in three outings. The predicted rain could also work as an advantage (although she has won on all going), leaving the only question mark as to whether the step back in distance will inconvenience her at this level.