Grand Prix de Chantilly | Group 2 | 1m4½f | 4yo+ | SKY
Classy five-year-old Ziyad will bid for compensation in the six-runner Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly at Deauville on Sunday, having missed out on an intended date on Dubai World Cup night earlier this year.
The Carlos Laffon-Parias-trained gelding booked his ticket for the Dubai Sheema Classic when scoring over an inadequate 1m1½f at Chantilly in March, but Meydan's glittering carnival conclusion was cancelled amid Covid-19's sporting shutdown.
Sunday's 1m4½f assignment has been relocated from its original venue of Chantilly, but that will not be a disadvantage to the mount of Maxime Guyon, as Ziyad scored over the same course and distance in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville last August.
If there is to be a chink in the armour of the favourite, then French King looks most likely to capitalise.
Henri-Alex Pantall's five-year-old ran out a ready winner of the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin last August at the expense of British raiders Communique and Old Persian, before finishing down the field on testing ground in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
However, the regular ride of Olivier Peslier proved his wellbeing in February when landing another valuable prize in the HH The Amir Trophy, a local Group 1 at Doha.
Way To Paris won't be found wanting for fitness after a pleasing second to Shaman in the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt less than three weeks ago.
The battle-hardened seven-year-old should strip fitter for that effort, but trainer Andrea Marcialis has expressed concerns his solid campaigner may not be at his best around Deauville, having finished sixth of seven and seventh of eight on his two appearances here.
Villa Rosa, the only mare in the field, has relatively few miles on the clock for a five-year-old and is also entitled to come forward from her seasonal bow behind Way To Paris at Longchamp, when the race could have unfolded more smoothly for her.
Henri-Francois Devin's representative has to improve to match the level set by Ziyad and French King, but she has some decent form over this course and distance and could be a live outsider.
Andre Fabre has won the race a record ten times and saddles Folamour this time around.
The Intello gelding, who is closely related to 2020 Cheltenham Festival winner Concertista, has yet to win outside of Listed company but has place claims if producing his very best.
The field is completed by Royal Julius, a seven-year-old who appears more exposed than the majority of his rivals.
What the trainers say
Carlos Laffon-Parias, trainer of Ziyad
Fortunately we decided that there was enough uncertainty surrounding Dubai not to send him so that saved a wasted trip. This is a comeback run but he is well and he is also unbeaten in two starts at Deauville. He loves this trip so he has everything in his favour.
Andrea Marcialis, trainer of Way To Paris
He ran very well on his comeback and I only wish this were still at Chantilly or, even better, at Longchamp. He has run badly at Deauville twice, though he may have been a little over the top the second time. What is sure is that he loves Longchamp.
Andre Fabre, trainer of Folamour
He is perhaps a bit below some of the other horses in the race but he has a good turn of foot and he will run well.