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Great card at ParisLongchamp with Siyarafina back on track

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This Sunday card at ParisLongchamp, two weeks after the French Guineas and a week prior to the French Derby meeting, features two Group1 races, a much-anticipated two-miler and a Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris key prep race.

The Prix d’Ispahan (Gr1) is open to horses aged 4 years old and above over the intermediate distance of 1,850 metres. They are nine, this year, to claim the crown seized last year by Recoletos, and before him by the likes of Goldikova, Cirrus des Aigles and Solow, for example.

This is a very serious lot that will face Study of Man (Deep Impact), the winner of the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club (Gr1) in 2018, back under the spotlight lately after in his second place in the Prix Ganay (Gr1) won by Waldgeist. The best ratings are those of English raider Zabeel Prince (Lope de Vega), who has just returned to success in Newmarket, Wild Illusion (Dubawi), also trained across the Channel, and winner of two Group 1 races last year, including the Prix de l’Opéra Longines (Gr1) on this very course, the coming back With You (Dansili), winner of the Prix Rothschild (Gr1) last summer in Deauville, Intellogent(Intello), the winner of Prix Jean Prat (Gr1) in 2018, or Dream Castle (Frankel), winner of a Group 1 this winter in Dubai. The regular Czech globe trotter Subway Dancer (Shamardal) and the winner of the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano Haras of Logis Saint-Germain (Gr2) Knight to Behold (Sea The Stars), who made a pleasing comeback lately, complete the field alongside the outsiders Trais Fluors (Dansili), third in this same race a year ago against five rivals.

On the mile-and-a-quarter trip of the Saxon Warrior Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary (Gr1), a 3-year-old fillies race en route to the Prix de Diane Longines (Gr1), eleven were confirmed on Friday morning. They race to succeed Laurens, who won the double Saint-Alary-Diane last year. The runners are still on the edge of a great career but it is probably Siyarafina(Pivotal) who is the most popular choice so far. The Aga Khan homebred filly did not take part in the French 1,000 Guineas because of a lacklustre piece of work but she is presumably back to the top and made a huge impression in her two wins of the season, most recently in front of Commes, who finished a close second in the Guineas. Others like Platane (Le Havre), a Wertheimer & Frère homebred who beat Etoile before the latter won the Prix Cleopatre (Gr3), are to be considered. England’s Imperial Charm (Dubawi), for her part, was fourth to French Guineas winner Castle Lady in the Gr3 Prix de la Grotte, just before. The form looks pretty thorough.

No filly should be dismissed because none has so far won on a trip longer than 9 furlongs, with the exception of the Marseille Phoceenne (Olympic Glory), who was only been beaten by Cartiem in the 10f+ Prix Pénélope (Gr3) at Saint-Cloud – another prep race for the Prix de Diane Longines, that is the French Oaks – after winning twice over 10f …

Some of the best French stayers are in the 3,000 metres-long Prix Vicomtesse Vigier (Gr2). The winner of the last three editions, Vazirabad, is no longer around and eleven ventured out of the wood to sit on that iron throne. The main challenger is Holdthasigreen (Hold That Tiger), meeting again his old foes Called to the Bar (Henrythenavigator), Call the Wind (Frankel), Qatar Prix du Cadran (Gr1) winner in October, and Way to Paris (Champs Elysées). But beware! No less than six 4-year-old challengers will try to shake the tree and some have real good form to their credit …

Five prominent 3-year-old colts were confirmed for Sunday on the 2,400m/1m4f Prix du Lys(Gr3), a prep race for the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Gr1). This year, the winner of the race will be invited to participate for free in the Grand Prix on July 14, either through the refunding of his entry or through a free supplementation fee. This is how the “Grand Free Pass” new program work. It is also open to the winners of four English races, the Hocquart Longines (Gr2), but also to the first three of the Epsom Derby and the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club.

Three countries are represented in the race. On the French side, the Marseilles-trained Talk or Listen (Alhebayeb) and the two horses trained by André Fabre, Khagan (Le Havre) for Godolphin and Ballet Russe (Camelot) for Coolmore. Moonlight Spirit (Dubawi), another “Godolphin” trained in Britain by Charlie Appleby, will start for UK while the undefeated German Quest the Moon (Sea the Moon), second of the Bavarian Classic (Gr3) for his return in Munich and entered in the German Derby, but not in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris.

Russian Ballet and Talk or Listen, who has not raced since his March 26 victory at Saint-Cloud and has participated in the Winter meeting at Cagnes sur mer, are also not entered.