French Racing Tips: Skaz the way to win the Royal-Oak

Dermot Weld saddles two at Longchamp
The Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak takes centre stage at Longchamp on Sunday

The Prix Royal Oak is the final Group 1 of the year in France. Patrick Weaver previews the Longchamp card and has a 6/1 shot to repel the foreign raiders.

"There's not a lot between them, but Skazino, 8/1 on the Sportsbook, is unbeaten over course and distance and has a 3 from 4 record this year when Mickael Barzalona has been in the saddle."

European stayers have their last chance to claim a big pot at Longchamp this Sunday.

The Group 1 Prix Royal Oak at 14:50 has attracted runners from England and Ireland, with Dermot Weld's Search For A Song and Charlie Appleby's Kemari at the head of the betting on 10/3 and 9/2 respectively.

Scope and Quickthorn are the other English raiders and Emmet Mullins saddles his Galway maiden winner Zero Ten, surprisingly priced at 25/1 when 100/1 would be more appropriate.

Bank on Barzalona to get Skazino home

Search For A Song is very much an autumn mare. She won last year's Irish Leger and then came second to Trueshan at Ascot. This time around she was only sixth in the Curragh Classic but has since shown her wellbeing by winning a Group 3 there, beating Aidan O'Brien's The Mediterranean comprehensively.

Kemari established himself as one of the top three-year-old stayers by winning the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot. He bounced back from a poor run at York with a career-best second to stablemate Manobo in the Qatar Prix Chaudenay over the Arc weekend.

Scope was sixth in the Leger at Doncaster before his Listed win at Ascot. Two good efforts but he would need to do better still to lift this prize.

The home team are headed by last year's runner-up (to Subjectivist) Valia and Skazino.

The pair have met twice already this year, and the score stands at 1-1.

Both were in Group 1 action over the Arc weekend - Valia coming third in the Qatar Prix de Royallieu, the same day Skazino was fouth to Trueshan and Stradivarius in the Prix du Cadran.

There's not a lot between them, but Skazino, 6/1 from 8/1 on the Sportsbook, is unbeaten over course and distance and has a 3 from 4 record this year when Mickael Barzalona has been in the saddle. He looks a value each-way bet and can win the prize for the French.

The French can see off the Irish in the Saint-Cyr

Dermot Weld has a second runner on the card - Emilie Gray in the Prix de Saint-Cyr at 15:25, a Listed race for three-year-old fillies over seven furlongs.

A Galway maiden winner in July, she is currently rated 88, 5lb lower than the other Irish filly Sziget trained by David Bergin.

The chances are one of the home team will win but which one?

Pamouschana was third to two English-trained fillies rated 108 and 110 last time - Cloudy Dawn and Just Beautiful.

See The Rose was fifth in the French 1,000 Guineas before a below-par effort two and a half lengths behind Pamouschana and Cloudy Dawn at Deauville. She was also a beaten favourite when fifth to Reina Madre in a Group 3 at the same track in April. The winner escapes a penalty for that Group success, so is definitely one to consider.

Oisin Murphy's mount Almeida Girl is one of the most improved fillies in France. Following two handicap wins at Deauville and a second in a Listed she is now rated 101. She competed off a mark of 70 as recently as May.

My shortlist would be Pamouschana, Almeida Girl and Reina Madre. An Irish win would be something of a shock.

Godolphin filly may need the run

The Godolphin filly Final Applause is an interesting runner in the opener - The Prix de la Roseraie at 12:23.

She won her only start for Charlie Appleby at Kempton last winter and, like many a two-year-old, was transferred to Henri-Alex Pantall, who trains at Beaupreau in the Loire Valley.

This is the first start in France for this daughter of Dubawi and she may need the race having been off the track 11 months. It is probably a race to watch with Michael Tabor's Friendly Face, trained by Andre Fabre, the one to beat.

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