Persian King may be facing a different set of rivals at a different track, over a different distance and on different ground conditions but the outcome of Sunday’s G1 Prix du Jockey Club (2100m) may well be identical.
At Longchamp in May’s Poule D’Essai Des Poulains – the French 2,000 Guineas – Persian King lengthened his stride once Pierre-Charles Boudot asked him a serious question and that 1600m G1 Classic was swiftly in the bag.
The rain that materialised in the days before the race was the only thing that had worried his supporters and the cloying conditions up the Longchamp straight meant that Persian King’s famous acceleration was blunted, evidenced by the time of 1m 38.98s – the slowest Poulains for five years.
But his class pulled him through at the famous track to the west of Paris. Trainer Andre Fabre was winning the Poulains for the seventh time and Persian King will surely start a hot favourite as Fabre looks for his fifth Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, north of France’s capital city.
And with warm and dry conditions predicted for later this week, slow ground is not on the agenda this time.
Fabre said: “The Jockey Club has been the obvious goal and he will certainly prefer the conditions at Chantilly. The colt is very well.”
Of course the son of Kingman must now prove himself at 2100m, but Persian King’s dam Pretty Please was a winner over this distance and maestro trainer Fabre has so far issued no warning messages on that front.
It does not seem to be worrying Anthony Stroud either. He represents the Wildenstein family who share Persian King with Godolphin. “The ground was not ideal at Longchamp but the further he went the better he looked. Sunday’s big race is his ideal target.”
What of the opposition in the Chantilly race often known as the French Derby? Fabre himself trains two established Prix du Jockey Club trials winners in Slalom, victorious in Longchamp’s G3 Prix Noailles, and Roman Candle, winner of Saint-Cloud’s G2 Prix Greffulhe.
Third to Roman Candle that day was Starmaniac, on the face of things a disappointing favourite, but trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias said: “I think we rode him the wrong way in the Greffulhe. We sat and waited at the back but I think we need to be much more positive. I’m expecting better on Sunday than we saw then.”
Aidan O’Brien still had seven entries at Tuesday’s forfeit stage. With such strong three-year-old ammunition it might be unwise to ignore the Ballydoyle challenge even though the great trainer has never won the Prix du Jockey Club with the Derby at Epsom seemingly the main priority for his stable’s star performers.
Trainer Freddy Head is intending to run Motamarris. This colt’s three starts have been at a much lower level but he has been highly impressive to the eye when winning each time.