Coronation looks strong
Cirrus Des Aigles and Flintshire, who were first and second in last year’s £375,000 Group One Investec Coronation Cup, feature among 13 horses going forward for this year’s renewal, one of the highlights of Investec Derby Day at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 6.
The pair feature among a particularly potent French-trained trio, with this season’s Dubai Sheema Classic heroine Dolniya (Alain de Royer Dupre) also in contention for the 12-furlong contest.
Cirrus Des Aigles scored by two lengths from Flintshire last season and Corine Barande-Barbe’s hugely popular nine-year-old made a winning start to his 2015 campaign with an easy success in the Prix Ganay at Longchamp on May 3 – his seventh Group One victory.
The son of Even Top will bid for further Group One honours at Longchamp in the Prix d’Ispahan this Sunday, May 24, before a possible return to Epsom Downs next month.
Barande-Barbe, who trains at Chantilly, commented: “Cirrus Des Aigles runs in the Prix d’Ispahan this Sunday and then we will think about coming back to Epsom Downs with him.
“We ran in both the d’Ispahan and the Coronation Cup last year and he could do the two races again. We will see how he comes out of this Sunday before deciding whether to go for the Investec Coronation Cup or the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
“Christophe Soumillon judged the ride right in the Ganay and he knows the horse very well. He lets Cirrus Des Aigles do what he wants – the race was not hard for him and his rhythm was perfect.
“That win gave us a lot of pleasure and he has been doing very well since then.”
Flintshire followed up his second in the Investec Coronation Cup with a string of fine efforts, including finishing runner-up in both the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Breeders’ Cup Turf, before capturing the Group One Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December.
The Andre Fabre-trained five-year-old has finished second to Dolniya on both his starts so far this year, including when going down by two and a quarter lengths in the Dubai Sheema Classic on March 28.
Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in the Investec Coronation Cup and Ireland’s champion trainer could bid for an eighth success with Tapestry, who lowered the colours of Taghrooda in the Group One Yorkshire Oaks last season. Further Irish interest may be provided by Champion Stakes third Free Eagle, from the stable of Dermot Weld.
Arab Spring (Sir Michael Stoute) is set to make his Group One bow following a length success over Pether’s Moon (Richard Hannon) in a Newbury Group Three on his seasonal return, while Romsdal (John Gosden) may return to Epsom Downs after finishing third in last year’s Investec Derby.
Secret Gesture (Ralph Beckett) was runner-up in the 2013 Investec Oaks and her part-owners Qatar Racing may also be represented by Just The Judge (Charlie Hills), who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas in the same year.
Red Cadeaux (Ed Dunlop), second to St Nicholas Abbey in the 2012 Investec Coronation Cup, has been performing admirably in Hong Kong and Australia over the winter, including filling the runner-up position in the Group One Melbourne Cup for a third time.
Ed Dunlop reported: “Red Cadeaux could possibly go for the Investec Coronation Cup.
“It is a race under consideration – his next run is likely to be at either Epsom or Royal Ascot. We will see how he is nearer the time.
“He is on the comeback trail at the moment after returning from his latest world travels.”
Canadian Grade One scorer Sheikhzayedroad (David Simcock) and Ayrad (Roger Varian) complete those going forward.
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