December 4, 2020

Four Breeders’ Cup WAYIs on Arc undercard include compelling Opera

Glass Slippers
Glass Slippers wins the Flying Five Stakes (Photo courtesy Inpho)

Sunday’s action at ParisLongchamp doesn’t let up after we know whether Enable made history in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). One race later comes a superb renewal of the Prix de l’Opera (G1), with a Filly & Mare Turf (G1) berth on the line, on a card loaded with Breeders’ Cup implications.

Prix de l’Opera – Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf

The respective top two from the French Oaks (G1), Irish fillies Fancy Blue and Alpine Star, renew rivalry following smart efforts in the interim. The Donnacha O’Brien-trained Fancy Blue added the Nassau (G1) at Glorious Goodwood and tuned up with a closing third in the Matron (G1) on Irish Champions Weekend. A step back up to about 1 1/4 miles would suit Fancy Blue well, if the Deep Impact filly can cope with the worst ground she’s encountered so far.

Coronation (G1) winner Alpine Star acquitted herself well on heavy in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1), where the Jessica Harrington trainee was runner-up to top miler Palace Pier. The other accomplished sophomore in the line-up, Prix Saint-Alary (G1) heroine Tawkeel, brings a perfect 5-for-5 mark. The Jean-Claude Rouget filly most recently took the Prix de la Nonette (G2) over Tickle Me Green.

Ireland also fields the Opera’s leading older distaffer, Tarnawa, who dominated the Prix Vermeille (G1) in her latest with Aidan O’Brien’s Laburnum fourth. Trained by Dermot Weld, the Aga Khan homebred previously dispatched Cayenne Pepper in the Give Thanks (G3).

James Fanshawe’s Audarya makes a return trip to France after upsetting the Prix Jean Romanet (G1). Romanet near-misser Ambition, the blueblood daughter of Dubawi and 2013 Oaks (G1) winner Talent, had defeated Grand Glory and Spirit of Nelson in the June 6 Prix Corrida (G2). Gran Premio di Milano (G2) vixen Durance has been holding her own versus males, beaten only a couple of lengths by Godolphin’s high-class Barney Roy in her past two in Germany.

Prix de l’Abbaye – Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

The ensuing Prix de l’Abbaye (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), has lost Battaash due to the prevailing conditions. But the about 5-furlong dash still has defending champion Glass Slippers, who already earned a ticket by edging Keep Busy in the Flying Five (G1) on Irish Champions Weekend. Two Flying Five also-rans have a case to do better. Make a Challenge, a close fifth, could prefer this ground, and Liberty Beach didn’t have the clearest run in seventh.

The trifecta from the Sept. 13 Prix du Petit Couvert (G3) – Air de Valse, Wooded, and Lady in France – square off again on dramatically different going that could reverse the result. Wooded might enjoy a sterner test, and Petit Couvert sixth Batwan had scored in the May 11 Prix de Saint-Georges (G3) at this course and distance over Sestilio Jet.

Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

The day’s opener, the about 7-furlong Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1), furnishes a free pass to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) as well as points on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby. The lone Ballydoyle entrant, St Mark’s Basilica, was third in the Vincent O’Brien National (G1), where Railway (G2) upsetter Laws of Indices was seventh. Coventry (G2) stunner Nando Parrado also has Group 1 form through his second to Campanelle in the Prix Morny (G1), leaving Cairn Gorm behind in eighth. Sealiway took the runner-up spot in the Prix la Rochette (G3), while the filly Libertine cuts back from a fourth in the Prix d’Aumale (G3).

Prix Marcel Boussac – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

More than twice as many have entered the companion Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) over the metric mile, offering a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). Three are alumnae of the WAYI Moyglare Stud (G1) – runner-up Pretty Gorgeous, who’d impressed in the soft-ground Debutante (G2) two back fr Joseph O’Brien; fifth Thunder Beauty; and uncharacteristic 11th Mother Earth, winner of the Naas Fillies’ Sprint (G3) during her consistent summer campaign for Ballydoyle.

The Richard Fahey-trained Fev Rover plundered the Prix du Calvados (G2) in her latest, while top French hope King’s Harlequin beat Harajuku and Coeursamba in the Prix d’Aumale here. Tiger Tanaka won the Prix Francois Boutin (G3) on heavy over La Gioiosa. Tasmania and La Jonction step up in class from wins, as does Milan listed scorer Al Siq.

Prix de la Foret

Two-time defending Prix de la Foret (G1) champion One Master looks for an unprecedented three-peat, but Godolphin’s outstanding sophomore Earthlight stands athwart her bid. The Andre Fabre pupil prevailed in the 2019 Morny on heavy going here, en route to ranking as the French champion 2-year-old colt, and telegraphed class when downing stablemate Tropbeau and Spinning Memories in the Prix du Pin (G3).

The Foret, historically a pointer to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), has also attracted Safe Voyage, who brings back-to-back Group 2 scores including the City of York (G2) over One Master and the Boomerang Mile (G2); Ballydoyle’s Group 1 bridesmaid Lope Y Fernandez, closest in the Prix Jean Prat (G1); last year’s third, Speak in Colours; and German mudlarks Rubaiyat and Irska.