McGuinness targeting Cagnes-sur-Mer spoils with Bowerman

The second of three Fast-Track Qualifiers staged in France during the All-Weather Championships, the €52,000 Listed Prix Saonois (2.50pm UK time), takes places at Cagnes-sur-Mer this Saturday.

The mile Polytrack contest provides the winner with a free and guaranteed start in the £150,000 Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield Park on Finals Day, Good Friday, April 10.

Irish raider Bowerman (Ado McGuinness/Pierre Charles-Boudot) holds leading claims after two impressive victories on the All-Weather at Dundalk this year. The lightly raced six-year-old defeated No Needs Never in a mile conditions race on January 10 and had no problem with the step up to an extended 10 furlongs when impressively landing a similar contest on January 30.

Formerly trained by Roger Varian, Bowerman's record on the All-Weather currently stands at five wins and a second from seven starts.

McGuinness, who is based in Lusk, County Dublin, said today: "Bowerman is in great form. I am on my way over today, but he was stabled overnight in Lyon and had a little canter on the track this morning. Stephen [Mooney] my apprentice was riding him and said he feels great, so we are very hopeful that the journey won't have taken too much out of him.

"On paper, it looks like he has a very good chance. He seems to be a different horse on the All-Weather and his record shows that, although we did geld him at the end of last year and that has made a huge difference.

"I think his optimum distance going forward is going to be a mile. He proved he gets 10 furlongs the last day and the 10 furlongs around Lingfield would not be too testing, but I think a strongly run mile is his ideal trip.

"It is very exciting to have a horse like him in the yard. He was not overly expensive either [52,000 guineas] when we bought him in Newmarket last July and, even though he has had his problems, it was great to get him."

Bowerman winning at Kempton Park in April, 2017, picture All Weather Championships

Bowerman will face stiff competition from last year's Prix Saonois victor Volfango (Fabrice Vermeulen/Maxime Guyon). Volfango did not line up on Finals Day in 2019 but posted some good efforts on turf subsequently, including when fourth in the G2 Badener Meile at Baden-Baden, Germany, in May. The six-year-old finished third in a mile conditions race at Cagnes-sur-Mer on January 14.

Rocquemont (Christophe Soumillon) has performed consistently since joining trainer Christophe Escuder. The son of Anodin was second in a pair of Listed races on turf in the autumn and impressed at Cagnes-sur-Mer last time out when capturing a mile conditions race on January 29. 

Escuder's other runner Carlton Choice (Stephane Pasquier) was beaten a short neck on his penultimate start in the Listed Prix Lyphard, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic on Finals Day, at Deauville on November 28.

The eight runners also include Dream Of Words (Jose-Carlos Cerqueira Germano/Eddy Hardouin) and Esperitum (Carina Fey/Delphine Santiago), who were fifth in Listed events at Deauville on their latest starts.

Course scorer Nadeem Alward (Michel Krebs/Cristian Demuro) and We Ride The World (Cedric Rossi/Anthony Crastus) complete the field.