Timeform preview the two Group 1s taking place at Longchamp on Sunday afternoon.
"Having signed off with an excellent second in the Filly and Mare Turf at the Breeders’ Cup in November, Wild Illusion will be difficult to beat if ready to go first time up."
Timeform on Wild Illusion
Along with the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday, we also have some top-level action over the channel at Longchamp, beginning with the Saxon Warrior Coolmore-sponsored Prix Saint-Alary for three-year-old fillies over ten furlongs.
British raiders have a good recent record in the race, winning the past two renewals, with the Karl Burke-trained Laurens landing the spoils twelve months ago, and the Simon Crisford-trained Imperial Charm is the sole British representative this time around.
Having shown fairly useful form as a two-year-old, winning on her third start at Newmarket last November, Imperial Charm has held her own in two starts in Group company here so far this term, most recently finishing fourth in the French 1000 Guineas a fortnight ago. She held every chance up until the final furlong that day, and is likely to give this another good go, for all that she's more exposed than some of her rivals.
One with stronger claims is Platane, who has won both of her starts so far this season. The form of her maiden success at Chantilly in March is working out well, with both of the placed runners winning similar events since, and she took the step up to Group 3-level in her stride when winning over C&D last month, drawing clear with the runner-up and prevailing by a neck. She's open to further improvement now taking her chance at the top level, and it would be no surprise to see her go close.
The one who makes the most appeal, though, is Siyarafina, who is very well-matched with Platane on Timeform ratings. She represents a yard that has won this race four times since 2008, and having been unraced as a two-year-old, Siyarafina has made an excellent start in 2019, picking up quick-fire wins at Saint-Cloud and Longchamp last month. Both of those victories were over a mile, and her latest was particularly impressive, as he scored readily in the style of a filly who will take high rank amongst her generation. Siyarafina has a 'large P' attached to her Timeform rating, indicating that she's open to significant improvement, and as such she's a confident pick to take this.
The Prix Saint-Alary is followed thirty-five minutes later by the Prix d'Ispahan, in which four of the runners are British trained.
This looks a competitive affair, with six of the field separated by just 1 lb on Timeform ratings, and the two who sit slightly clear are the Godolphin-owned pair Dream Castle and Wild Illusion, who represent Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby respectively.
Dream Castle was seeking a four-timer at Meydan in the Dubai Turf in March, but ran a shocker, and more interesting now is Wild Illusion, who is due to make her seasonal reappearance after a fine 2018. Indeed, Wild Illusion proved to be a model of consistency in six starts last season, building on placed efforts in the Oaks and the Ribblesdale to land the Nassau at Goodwood in August, before following up with a Group 1-success over ten furlongs here in October. Having signed off with an excellent second in the Filly and Mare Turf at the Breeders' Cup in November, Wild Illusion will be difficult to beat if ready to go first time up.
Another interesting British runner is Zabeel Prince, who takes his chance for the Roger Varian team. He's lightly raced for a six-year-old with just nine starts under his belt, and he proved better than ever when making a winning reappearance in the Group 3 Earl of Sefton at Newmarket last month, showing a fine turn of foot from off a good pace. The presence of the front-running Knight To Behold should ensure that he has a reasonable gallop to aim at, and he is an interesting contender on just his second try at Group 1 level (hung left and unsuited by the ground on only other try in last year's Lockinge at Newbury).
The strongest of the home challenge is With You, who represents Freddy Head. Having finished behind Laurens on her first two starts last season, With You made her Group 1-breakthrough when winning the Prix Rothschild in convincing style at Deauville, scoring by three lengths. She found Alpha Centauri too hot to handle on her next start at the same track a month later, but took a step back in the right direction when fourth over ten furlongs here in October. She will be a real threat if fully tuned up on reappearance. Finally, Study of Man ran with credit to finish second in the Prix Ganay behind Waldgeist here last month, and would have claims if able to build on that.
Minimum Bet Guarantee
Betfair's 'minimum bet guarantee' on all Class 1 and 2 races in the UK and Ireland - which means all customers are able to bet to win a minimum of £500 - has been extended to cover all races at selected meetings this week. T&Cs apply.