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Prix de l'Abbaye 'definitely still an option' for Curragh tenth Winter Power

Nunthorpe winner Winter Power was reported in "A1 condition" after returning from a fruitless trip to the Curragh, where she could only finish a well-beaten tenth behind Romantic Proposal in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes.

Having flown out of the gates the three-year old daughter of Bungle Inthejungle never dropped the bit for Silvestre de Sousa and was a spent force approaching the furlong marker in Sunday's Group 1 contest.

Trainer Tim Easterby said: "She just ran too free. She ran with the choke out and that was that. But she didn't blow and was absolutely A1 after the race.

"It just didn't happen for her but she's come home good and is sound."

Bookmakers reacted by making Suesa no bigger than 9-4 to give France a win in the Abbaye – last season Wooded bridged a gap of eight years back to the previous time the prize stayed at home – while Winter Power is now 9-1 with Paddy Power, having been 11-4 with the firm before Sunday's race.

"The Abbaye would definitely still be an option," said Easterby, who is one of the few trainers who will head to Paris without too many concerns about the weather forecast.

"She's won on soft and firm, so the ground doesn't make any difference to her at all. She's absolutely A1 on both and it doesn't get that soft on the inside track anyway, it never does. They never do it in over a minute."

Ducking well under a minute for the Longchamp five furlongs on Sunday was Berneuil, who bolted up in the Group 3 Prix du Petit Couvert and was given a quote of 6-1 by Coral for the Abbaye.

Yann Lerner reported Berneuil to be "in perfect shape" 24 hours on from his first Group success, one which came on just the 11th start of the four-year-old's career.

"He gashed himself badly in the stalls ahead of his comeback run at Vichy as a three-year-old and missed most of the year," said Lerner. "There was a while where we wondered if he would be able to run again and it makes it all the more wonderful that he has come back at such a high level."

Christophe Soumillon had the race won half a furlong from the finish but Lerner is under no illusion as to the task that will face Berneuil in the Abbaye.

He said: "In three weeks' time he will be in even better form but it is important to stress that, to believe we have a chance in the Abbaye, he needed to win at least that easily.

"Ever since the start of the year I've said that, although he handles soft ground very well, you would see a different horse on a fast surface, and so it proved on Sunday."

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