Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud preview: Reach for the Stars

Will there be more Godolphin success in France on Sunday?
Will there be more Godolphin success in France on Sunday?

Timeform preview the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on Sunday...

"...produced a career-best effort (top-class form) when two and a half lengths second to Enable in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on his final outing in 2017..."

Timeform on Cloth of Stars

On form, and weight-adjusted Timeform ratings, Gerling-Preis winner Oriental Eagle is the weakest of the three German contenders, with both Iquitos and Guignol holding superior claims. This pair of six-year-olds have had many a battle over the years, including in the Preis der Badischen Wirtschaft last time, where Iquitos put up a career-best effort to gain a second win in the race (also successful in 2016 and runner-up to Guignol in 2017). Guignol could only finish third in this year's renewal, beaten three and a quarter lengths, but he was making his reappearance there and can be expected to benefit from the outing. Each will bid to become the first German-trained winner of the race since Novellist landed the 2013 renewal.

The Clive Cox-trained My Dream Boat fared best of the British contingent 12 months ago, and Coronet (John Gosden) and Salouen (Sylvester Kirk) will carry the flag this time around. Gosden's Eagle Top was only ninth in the 2016 renewal, but Coronet appears to hold leading claims of faring better, despite having a bit to find on ratings. A smart performer, she won the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2017 and made a successful return to action in the Middleton Stakes at York last time. The fourth has since won to give the form a boost, and it appeared to be stamina - rather than anything else - which let her down the last time she faced the males, in last year's St Leger (beat colts as a two-year-old).

Salouen, meanwhile, was well ridden when beaten just a head by Cracksman in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, but the winner has not truly embossed the form, having raced lazily when second to Poet's Word in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. The third, fourth, and fifth from Epsom have all since been beaten as well, so Salouen will likely need to improve again if he is to gain a first pattern-race success.

Bateel was formerly trained in England by David Simcock, but she has taken her form to new levels since joining Francis-Henri Graffard prior to the start of last season. She progressed well, winning the Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock, Prix de Pomone at Deauville and Prix Vermeille at Chantilly (by two and a half lengths from Journey), and was also a creditable two lengths second to Hydrangea in the Fillies' And Mares' Stakes at Ascot on her final start that term. She gained her fourth pattern-race win, giving weight away all round, when landing the Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud on her reappearance in May.

A pair of Andre Fabre-trained runners complete the eight-strong field, namely Waldgeist and Cloth of Stars. Though good enough to win twice as a juvenile, the Gestut Ammerland-bred Waldgeist was always likely to improve with time and a trip (dam a half-sister to St Leger winner Masked Marvel, from the family of Deutsches Derby winner Waldpark) and he looks set for a very good four-year-old season judging by two wins over this trip since his seasonal reappearance at Longchamp. He readily won the Grand Prix de Chantilly last time by three lengths from Dschingis Secret and the market leader is respected here.

Cloth of Stars produced a career-best effort (top-class form) when two and a half lengths second to Enable in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on his final outing in 2017, but hasn't been able to match that in three starts this season, only beating one home when sixth to Waldgeist in the Grand Prix de Chantilly last time. That doesn't tell the full story however, as he failed to get a run on the rails, and he should fare much better here granted more luck in running.

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