Facteur Cheval, Junko leading French hopes in Dubai

29 March 2024

Facteur Cheval set for Dubai run

Saturday’s Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan has once again brought together a truly international array of high-class horses. Seven of these represent French interests, and here we will have a quick look at their prospects.

Beginning with purebred arabians in the Gr.1 Kahayla Classic, a race in which the French have a successful past, Thomas Fourcy saddles Hadi De Carrère who finished third in the 2022 edition. Ridden by Mickaël Barzalona, his chances are good.

Matters will not be quite so simple for King Gold and Stéphane Pasquier in the Al Quoz SprintNicolas Caullery’s 7 year-old having failed to deliver this winter, both at Meydan and, more recently, in Saudi Arabia.

Three line up for the Gold CupAndré Fabre sends out Sober, who will be ridden by Maxime Guyon, and Sevenna’s Knight, the mount of Mickaël Barzalona. Christophe Soumillon will be onboard the Georges Doleuze-trained Al Nayyir and, on paper, all three are in with a reasonable shout.

Sure to be under significant scrutiny in the Dubai TurfJérôme Reynier’s Facteur Cheval has not been seen out since coming second in October’s QEII at Ascot. Reunited with Maxime Guyon who rode him 2nd to Paddington at Goodwood, Facteur Cheval was 4 for 4 in the frame at Group 1 level in 2023, and perhaps his breakthrough will come this weekend.

Undeniably the best French hope of the evening though is the André Fabre-trained Junko in the Sheema Classic. Beaten over too short a trip on his seasonal return at Chantilly, he is back to his preferred 2400m on Saturday, with Guyon in the irons, and if at the same level he showed in the Hong Kong Vase last December, he will be in a position to claim a third Group 1 title. 


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