Bobby Zen

With all three of France’s Classics staged so far in 2024 falling to unexposed types, Sunday’s 175th edition of the G1 Prix de Diane Longines at Chantilly could be poised for more of the same as the fast-improving TDN Rising Star Gala Real (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) is asked her biggest question. Going from an 11-length win at Lyon-Parilly in November to a 3 1/2-length defeat of the subsequently listed-placed Wootton Zi (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) in Saint-Cloud’s Prix Durban in April, Scuderia Dei Duepi, Ecurie des Charmes and Ballylinch Stud’s girl wonder was not done there.

It was her defeat of the Wertheimers’ fellow TDN Rising Star Aventure (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) in ParisLongchamp’s Listed Prix de la Seine last month that marks the Alessandro and Giuseppe Botti-trained filly as ready-made for Classic success. She is also owned by the football world’s icon Carlo Ancelotti, who after the kind of season he has had with Europe’s best Real Madrid will be hoping that his aura of success rubs off on his equine representative in racing’s equivalent of the Champions League. Maybe it’s that unstoppable momentum that led to the fates determining that she was handed stall one in the draw lottery.

“Gala Real is very well behaved and has an impeccable mindset,” Alessandro said. “It’s almost certain that a sound surface won’t bother her, although we know that she acts on soft ground. If the ground rides good, I hope she’ll be just as effective on it as on soft because it will open up a lot of opportunities for us further down the line. There’s no doubt that we’re going to get a properly-run race with the presence of British and Irish fillies and I’m hoping for that proper gallop. Christophe Soumillon has carte blanche–he knows her better than me.”


Une Aventure Fabuleuse?

Aventure has just a short neck to make up on Gala Real from the Prix de la Seine and has since bounded forward with an impressive seven-length win in the 12-furlong G3 Prix de Royaumont here. The question mark is the drop back in trip, but trainer Christophe Ferland is unconcerned about that factor. “For me, the 2,100-metre trip won’t be a worry,” he said of the half-sister to the Diane runner-up Left Hand (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) from the family of Plumania (GB) (Anabaa), who was third in this.

“After the Prix de Royaumont, everyone asked me if she would heading to the Prix de Diane. It also depended on how she recovered from the Royaumont,” he added. “The overriding consideration was how she recovered and, since then, she’s been doing her normal daily work in the form of some gentle canters on the all-weather, combined with a very short piece of work on grass to see if her action was still fluid and there were no problems on that score.”


What Of Menuisier’s Zarkava?

Where Aventure has to contend with an unfavourable high draw in 10, the apple of David Menuisier’s eye Tamfana (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}) has struck lucky with stall four. Along with the fellow British-based contender Dance Sequence (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), she boasts prior Classic form having been a probably unfortunate fourth in the G1 1000 Guineas. She also has previous at Chantilly, having captured the seven-furlong G3 Prix Miesque last term and her trainer is not holding back. “She makes me think of Zarkava, which is a big statement,” he said. Uh, you could say that.

Before the heretic labellers get to speak out, the French-born handler with bullish tendencies elaborates. “She shows similar traits, in that she can be ridden very cold and win a race within a few yards because of her massive turn of foot,” he explained. “She looks more like a colt than a filly, she is a very powerful horse and I’m sure she will keep on improving physically.” He’s not finished yet. “I’ve maintained that Tamfana is the best filly that I’ve ever trained–she’s exceptional.”

“She has a pedigree that oozes stamina, there is some proper stamina on the dam’s side. On her pedigree, we shouldn’t have any doubts about stamina, rather speed, but that’s something she’s had from when she started to come to herself in September last year,” he added. “If you compare her to [the Oaks third] War Chimes, it is like comparing a diesel to a petrol car. War Chimes is very good, but Tamfana has so much more speed.”


Next On Her Dance Card…

Having turned up in the 1000 Guineas and Oaks, Godolphin’s Dance Sequence is back again having shown Charlie Appleby the way to go since her stirring effort at Epsom. Second-best at that mile-and-a-half trip, the homebred nevertheless produced the sharpest sectional to threaten from three out to two out and this 10 1/2-furlong trip is made for her. “Dance Sequence appears to have come out of Epsom in good shape,” her trainer said. “It’s always a bit tricky in terms of timing running in both races, but we feel that she is showing the right signs. We feel dropping back in trip will suit and hopefully some ease in the ground won’t do her any harm. We are applying cheekpieces just to hopefully keep her concentration at the business end of the race. She has a sensible draw in seven and, if she can reproduce her Epsom form, she is going to be a big player.”

A Classic Treble For The Aga Khan?

With the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and G1 Oaks in the bag already in 2024, what price a third fillies’ monument for The Aga Khan in a matter of weeks? Certainly his Francis-Henri Graffard-trained G3 Prix de la Grotte winner Candala (Fr) (Frankel {GB}) has all the credentials to garner a record-extending eighth renewal for her owner-breeder. If only she had a better draw than 12, but there is something about this special blend of speed and stamina that says she is one of the select few that could overcome.

Graffard also saddles Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani’s lightly-raced and unproven Paraiba (Fr), another daughter of Soldier Hollow, and he said, “Candala is indifferent to the state of the ground. We have rediscovered the filly we know and love and are very happy with her.” Of Paraiba, he added, “We’ve always rated her, but her preparation has been hindered somewhat by the weather at the beginning of the year as she’s a top-of-the-ground filly. We’ve got the work into her and she’s ready, but if the ground is soft, she won’t run.”


Bubbling Under…

Also carrying the Wertheimers silks is the Carlos Laffon-Parias-trained G3 Prix Cleopatre winner Halfday (Fr) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), who is looking to provide her sire with the Jockey Club-Diane double. The operation’s racing manager Pierre-Yves Bureau said, “It was very much part of the game plan to head straight to the Prix de Diane after winning the Prix de Cleopatre, avoiding a detour via the Prix Saint-Alary which would have been her only other option. She is a light-framed filly who needs time between her races and is very much a late developer. She will blossom over the trip in time.”

Looking for the fairytale is the Finnish-born Chantilly-based Laura Vanska, who is here with Alain Jathiere and Christine Guilbert’s G2 Prix Saint-Alary winner Birthe (Ire) (Study Of Man {Ire}). Having worked in show jumping before taking in Godolphin’s Flying Start, she has a tiny string compared to most of her peers represented here and is dreaming big with the €12,000 purchase. “In the Prix Saint-Alary, she proved her ability to act on soft ground, so I’m not worried about rain,” she said. “She’s changed a lot since the beginning of the year. As a 2-year-old, she didn’t have the required strength to handle bad ground. It’s quite incredible to be pitching at this level in this race of such magnitude, given that I only train ten horses!”


By Daylight Again?

Also on Chantilly’s card is the G3 Prix du Bois Longines for 2-year-olds, with the distinct possibility of Earthlight (Ire) having a first black-type winner from his first crop via his daughter Daylight (Fr). Gousserie Racing and Sandrine Gavrois’s Patrice Cottier trainee may only have to replicate her debut performance when winning by 4 1/2 lengths over this track and six-furlong trip last month, but in all probability she will need more with Karl Burke involved with his York novice winner Arabie (GB) (Dandy Man {Ire}).

In the 12-furlong G3 Prix du Lys Longines, Coolmore and Westerberg’s unbeaten TDN Rising Star Delius (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who beat the Diane contender Paraiba in the course-and-distance Prix du Puits aux Chiens conditions event last month, takes the next step towards a crack at the G1 Grand Prix de Paris his trainer Andre Fabre loves so much to win. Also on Sunday, Cologne stages the G2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Wirtschaft, where last year’s G1 Deutsches Derby hero Fantastic Moon (Ger) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) looks to get back on track and the contenders for Hamburg’s 2024 domestic Classic shape up in the G2 Sparkasse Kolnbonn 189th Union-Rennen. Watch for another Sea The Moon here, Gestut Schlenderhan’s Listed Dusseldorf Derby Trial runner-up Any Moon (Ger) who is a half-brother to the G1 Melbourne Cup hero Almandin (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}).

The post Is Gala The Real Deal? appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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