This Sunday see the first running of the French Guineas over Deauville’s straight mile as Longchamp is closed for redevelopment. There looks to be two high class fields assembled for the Poule D’Essai De Poulains (2000 Guineas) and the Poule D’Essai De Pouliches (1000 Guineas) and if you bet €20 or more on French Racing this weekend you will get two tickets to Irish 2000 Guineas day on 21st May!
Deauville 2.15 – Poule D’Essai De Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas)
Aiden O’Brien sends English 1000 Guineas third Alice Springs to the French equivalent where she will bid to give him his first winner in the race since Rose Gypsy in 2001.
She will face tough competition though from the likes of last year’s Lowther winner Besharah. She disappointed on her only start so far this season when third in the Group 3 Darling Stakes at Chelmsford last month but connections will be hoping she can bounce back to form returned to turf.
Of the home team, Qemah, La Cressonniere and Come Alive all represent powerful connections and come here on the back of wins. Qemah was third to Ballydoyle in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac last season but was impressive when winning the Group 3 Prix De La Grotte on return. Her stablemate La Cressonniere has run up a sequence of wins and has recently completed a hat-trick of listed win. This will obviously be a step up in class but she looks a filly of real potential.
Come Alive represents master French trainer Andre Fabre, she has only raced twice and has yet to run even in listed company but the manner of her two wins suggest she could be special. She may prove to be a better filly over further in time but it is hard to ever rule out an Andre Fabre runner in a major race.
Deauville 3.20 – Poule D’Essai Des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas)
Aidan O’Brien again has a strong contender in the form of recent Navan maiden winner The Gurkha. He only made his debut at Leopardstown last month but the manner of his 9 length victory last time suggest he is Group 1 quality. His trainer has a good record in the race winning it on three occasions (Landseer 2002, Aussie Rules 2006, Astromomer Royal 2007) and a big run can be expected.
Zarak and Zelzal are both fascinating runners in opposition. Zarak is the progeny of superstar stallion Dubawi and legendary race mare Zarkava that is unbeaten in two starts to date. He was workmanlike in a conditions race last time but his pedigree means that he must be respected.
Zelzal has yet to race on turf but has shown a scintillating turn of foot winning both his starts on the all-weather. There is no way of knowing before the event if he will be as effective of turf but if he is he should be the horse they all have to beat.
Birchwood and Crazy Horse are two runners from the UK that bring some interesting form to the table and could not be ruled out either.