The 10-race card at Saint-Cloud features the Group One Grand Prix over 12 furlongs. Patrick Weaver previews the four main contests this Sunday...
"Without a recent run, Old Persian may not be able to assert against the likes of Way To Paris who has run in three Group races since racing resumed eight weeks ago."
Foreign runners are now allowed in France but not jockeys from overseas. So, with his usual riders William Buick and James Doyle at Newmarket, Old Persian will be ridden by Mickael Barzalona for the first time in the feature race, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at 14:50.
Charlie Appleby's five-year-old has two Group One wins on his CV: The Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan and the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine, Toronto. Great wins but his record at the top level in Europe is not that good. He was 6th in the Irish Derby, 5th in the St Leger, 7th in the Coronation Cup and 3rd in the Grosser Preis von Berlin.
Without a recent run, he may not be able to assert against the likes of Way To Paris who has run in three Group races since racing resumed eight weeks ago.
My selection was a most impressive winner of the Grand Prix de Chantilly at the end of last month. Folamour and Ziyad were eight lengths back in that Deauville race.
He has since failed by inches to catch Scotsass in the Group One Prix Ganay over 10 and a half furlongs, a race he might have won had it been over this distance.
Ziyad has been beaten under a length in the two Group Ones he has contested, and in this race 12 months ago was headed close home by Coronet after trying to make all with Lah Ti Dar a close third. If he is ridden from the front, he would appeal as a bet, but he was outpaced when different tactics were used last time at Deauville.
Nagano Gold has one single piece of form in 19 starts that would give him a squeak in today's line-up. He was a close second at 25/1 to Defoe in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last June, just ahead of Mirage Dancer.
That looked a fluke at the time, but he was nevertheless a short-priced favourite for the Grand Prix de Deauville last August. He was third to Ziyad that day and hasn't been seen since totally out of his depth in the Arc.
If his recent races in top company have not taken their toll, I would expect Way To Paris to come out on top from Ziyad and Old Persian.
Bank on King to beat Pretreville at level weights
Earlier on the card at 13:00, Persian King should dominate the Group Two Prix du Muguet. The Godolphin colt does not have a penalty for his French 2,000 Guineas victory last year, after which he was runner-up in the French Derby.
He wasn't far off his best on his return when beaten at odds-on back at Chantilly by Magny Cours in the same ownership. As he ticks all the boxes for this, he rates the day's best bet.
Lady Bamford hasn't had much luck at all with the Frankel offspring she has bought. Suphala,a stablemate of Persian King, is one that will never recover anything like her €650,000 purchase price on the track.
She won a Group Three and a Listed last year but only beat one home in the French 1,000 Guineas and was later unplaced in a Group Two won by Terebellum.
Pretreville is likely to prove a far bigger threat to the favourite. He made all to beat Plumatic and the favourite Skalleti in a Group Three at Chantilly last month. He is 2lb worse off with the third for five lengths, so should confirm the form despite the fact Pierre-Charles Boudot left his challenge late on Skaletti. It certainly wasn't his finest hour on a horse that he knows well enough.
We Ride The World is a provincial handicapper that has improved massively for joining Cedric Rossi from Amandine Baudron. Not enough to make the first three, though, as he needs to improve a stone to figure in this finish.
Arapaho needs to be at his best to beat Irshad
The first of the two Listeds on the undercard is the Prix de Saint-Patrick at 13:35. Devil has the best form but it is at the now-closed Maisons-Laffitte over six furlongs and this is over a mile. He ran in a Guineas trial last month and was last of eight - one place behind Memory Dream so it may well be that he does not stay eight furlongs.
Reshabar made the running in the Guineas itself but got mown down in the closing stages by Arapaho among others. The Coolmore runner who finished sixth, two lengths ahead of Reshabar, has a 4lb penalty for his previous win so there should not be much to choose between them.
Irshad finished within a length of the winner when fourth to Chachnak in a Group Three at Chantilly. Christophe Soumillon clearly overdid the waiting tactics on his mount, so should be forgiven that. He has an each-way chance here.
Restiany is worth considering each-way as he beat Reshabar a length when the pair were the first two home in a maiden on the all-weather at Chantilly last autumn. He was also a head in front of Memory Dream when they were placed behind Barakettle at Lyon Parilly on soft this month.
Strong case for Simeen to make it four from five
The Prix Volterra at 16:00 is a Listed race for fillies that have not won a Group race.
The favourite, Simeen, had won all three of her races prior to being sent off at 5/2 for the 1,000 Guineas at Deauville in which Desobeissance was tailed off.
Soumillon's mount did not have the quality of form to support her SP in that Classic in which she was 8th but she had previously beaten several subsequent winners. In addition, Golden Crown who was runner-up to her at Chantilly in May has since earned black type with a second in the Group Two Prix de Sandringham. Simeen is the pick as it is hard to make any sort of case for the others.
Kraquante won a Longchamp maiden last year and was only beaten a nose at Angers by Ayaad, a 95-rated colt of Sheikh Hamdan's. I'm surprised she is among the outsiders and she appeals each-way. Beaute Pour Toi was beaten three lengths in a Listed over a mile at Deauville last month. Scripturale was placed in a Listed and Group Three in 2019 which she has not managed to do this time around. Maybe she is not as good as she was?
The second favourite Perhaps got off the mark in a maiden at Vichy that didn't take much winning. In hindsight, the same could be said of Si Senorita's maiden at Chantilly in March, as those behind her have not exactly shone since. Silver Schnok has won minor races at Lyon and Nantes, without suggesting she can figure at this level.