The most important of the two classics’ prep races at Saint-Cloud on May 1st, the Prix Greffulhe (Gr2) brought together five runners including Starmaniac (Sea the Stars), a brother to Plumatic, who had just won the Muguet Mile (Gr2).
The front-running outsider Pappalino (Makfi) was quite rightly unimpressed and he led all the way to finally concede only a neck to his only rival, Godolphin’s Roman Candle (Le Havre), in the dying strides. The latter dug deep to overcome the French actor Gérald Laroche’s challenger, whose colours also won last Saturday in the Grande Course de Haies de Printemps (Gr3) at Auteuil. The two first home left three lengths between them and Starmaniac, which was never able to build any kind of serious threat. The Wertheimer family homebred had opened his starting box while during the loading, which probably didn’t help him to settle.
The winner had just finished third for his return in the Prix La Force (Gr3) won by Shaman, a Starmaniac stablemate at Carlos Laffon-Parias’.
Roman Candle was bought € 190,000 from Arqana sales, but his sister by Toronado was sold last summer at the Arqana sales for € 90,000 to Jean-Claude Rouget. She has never raced and is now out of training since March. Both yearlings were consigned by Pierre Talvard’s Haras du Cadran. Their dam Holy Dazzle (Sunday Break) was second in the Prix Imprudence (Gr3) but could not win at Listed level after that. However, her second dam foaled Chichicastenango, winner of the Prix Lupin (Gr1) and Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Gr1).
After a winning return in the Prix Durban over the same extended 10 furlongs trip, Cartiem (Cape Cross) was the most resolute catch and beat Phoceenne (Olympic Glory) on the post in the Prix Pénélope (Gr3). With four fillies going to the start after Secret Walk (Dansili) was scratched, this classic prep race for the Prix de Diane Longines (French Oaks, Gr1) was led by Phocéenne, representing Kamel Chehboub’s Haras de la Gousserie. Also a winner for her return at 3-year-old of the Prix Rose de Mai (L) on this course but over 2,000m rather than the day’s longer 2,100m-trip, Phoceenne tried hard to steal the race but her challenger, owned by Jean-Louis Tepper, Écurie des Charmes and Gerard Augustin-Normand pulled herself together in time to deny Phocennee, while the favourite Romancière (Dansili), who was racing for the first time this season, finished very nicely in 3rd.
Cartiem was bred in France by Rashit Shaykhutdinov, the Haras du Mézeray and American trainer Christophe Clément. She was bought as a yearling by her trainer Jean-Claude Rouget for € 140,000 at the October Arqana sale. Her dam Mintaka (Zamindar) was bought € 90,000 at the 2014 breeding sales in Deauville to her breeder-owner Aga Khan, for which she had won a single race at Nancy. It is the family of Manighar (Linamix), triple Gr1 winner in Australia, and a brother of Mintaka.
The latter also has a 2-year-old by Charm Spirit, Parole et Musique, in training with Jean-Claude Rouget, who bought her € 70,000 last year.
Cartiem is entered in both the Saxon Warrior Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary (Gr1) and the Prix de Diane Longines (Gr1).