Godolphin pass their French exam at Longchamp

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Godolphin pass their French exam at Longchamp

Classic trials are supposed to be a test for horses but there can be equally as exacting an examination for the humans involved.

Despite years of success, Alain de Royer-Dupre is a noted worrier at this time of year and the trials meeting at Longchamp may have done little to help his anxiety. He came away with one winner, in the Group Three Prix De Fontainebleau, but not with the horse that he had expected to take the prize.

The Fontainebleau was supposed to be the prep race for Siyouni, winner of last year's Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, prior to a run in the Poule D’Essai des Poulains. To ensure a good pace Royer-Dupre also ran a pacemaker, Rajsaman.

Rajsaman, ridden by Thierry Jarnet, still held a clear lead turning for home and Gerald Mosse, riding Siyouni, did not get a clear run early in the home straight as he tried to make up ground. The colt also took time to get into full stride and when he did, despite finishing strongly, was beaten a half-length.  

Siyouni may well prove better than this and the same can probably be said for Rosanara, who was the hot favourite for the Group Three Prix de la Grotte. Royer-Dupre had suggested that the filly might need her first run of the season and she came through to win her race in the final furlong only to be run out of it by Gotlandia and the winner, Anna Salai, who was running in the Godolphin France colours and trained by Andre Fabre.

The Dubawi filly, still a maiden coming into the race, may now meet Rosanara again in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp next month. Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said: "I was very pleased with the performance and I would expect her to go to the Pouliches. I haven’t talked to Andre yet but that looks the race for Anna Salai. The victory is also great news for Dubawi."

The news got better for Godolphin when the Fabre-trained Simon De Montfort finished fast to win the Group Three Prix La Force. He still trailed the field coming into the straight and met trouble when first moving up. Switched to the outside by Mickael Barzalona, Simon De Montfort stormed through to grab the advantage from Pain Perdu by a neck.

The colt has now won on four of his five starts and is on target for the Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly in June. "Simon De Montfort deserves to go to the French Derby after that excellent performance,” Crisford said, "I will talk over plans with Andre and we will decide what to do."

Todd Pletcher has taken the decision to scratch Eskendereya from the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday, after the ante-post favourite suffered a setback, with swelling in his near-fore leg. Speaking to the Daily Racing Form, Pletcher said: "The left leg is filled from the ankle up to the knee. We've got to get the edema out of there to get a proper diagnosis. He's not uncomfortable. But when we took him out of his stall this morning and jogged him on the asphalt, he was what for me I would call 'slightly off.'"

Ryan Moore did not have any setbacks with his travel plans, making the dash from Sandown Park on Saturday to ride Presvis in the Group One Audemars Piguet QEII Cup at Sha Tin. However, Moore did not get such an easy trip through the race and Presvis, who won the race last year, could finish no better than a close fifth to local star Viva Pataca.

Having ended the final day of the last jumps season with the biggest winner of his fledgling career, Adrian Heskin began the new season with a winner. The 18-year-old conditional won the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on Church Island on Saturday and made his first ride at Wetherby a winning one as Thyne For Deploy won the National Festival Circus Is Here Today Maiden Hurdle.



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