Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud brings Arc into focus

29 June 2024

Sevenna's Knight

One of the most established middle-distance races on the calendar, and an important rendez-vous for older horses, Sunday’s Gr.1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud is a proven springboard to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which takes place three months later, and is an unmissable event on the French racing calendar.

Winner in 2022, Westover went on to run second in the Arc, while 12 months on, Alpinista won both. In three years without a domestically-trained winner, the French may just have a better hand to play this time around.

André Fabre’s Sevenna’s Knight will be expected to play a prominent role, considering how well he won the Gr.3 Prix de Barbeville before confirming in the Gr.2 Prix Vicomtesse Vigier, the first over 3000m, the next 100m longer. It will be interesting to see how he fares over the shorter classic distance. 

Put away after finishing 9th of 18 in the Japan CupIresine’s return was somewhat delayed but he did everything asked of him, easily winning a Lyon-Parilly Listed last month. In his element over 2400m, Jean-Pierre Gauvin’s gelding is a realistic proposition, despite a good ground that will not be ideal for his aptitude.

Third in the Prix Ganay, before repeating in the Coronation Cup late-May, Feed The Flame is plainly close to his best and Pascal Bary’s team would be justified in feeling bullish.

Last of the French runners, Zarir was disappointing in La Coupe three weeks ago, over a trip that was possibly too short, but considering he missed out by just a head to Haya Zark in the Ganay, he is not to be overlooked.

Among the foreign horses, Point Lonsdale looks a hot prospect. After a pair of unremarkable performances in the Gulf earlier in the year, he bounced back with a 6.5L Gr.3 Ormonde Stakes victory at Chester in early-May. 

Dubai Honour ran a good third in the Gr.2 Grand Prix de Chantilly earlier this month but, to win this, he will need to raise his game. Gr.2 winner on his seasonal bow, Outbox failed to confirm when last but one in a Danish Gr.3 at Klampenborg, and it would be something of a surprise to see him finish in the mix.

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