Sunday’s Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby has attracted British, Irish, and German shippers take on the French at ParisLongchamp. Also a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), the about seven-furlong test is one of five Breeders’ Cup Challenge events on a blockbuster “Arc Day.”
The four British-based entrants are led by Ebro River, who comes off a pair of fine efforts in Ireland. The Hugo Palmer trainee captured the six-furlong Phoenix S. (G1) at the Curragh, and on his return visit, he finished third when trying seven furlongs in the Sept. 12 Vincent O’Brien National (G1). That form is the best on offer here, since the top two in the National are the highly-regarded Native Trail and Point Lonsdale.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby will try to continue his international momentum with Noble Truth
. The beautifully bred son of Kingman disappointed when fourth in the Acomb (G3) behind Royal Patronage, who came back to win the Royal Lodge
(G2). Noble Truth rebounded by taking the Sept. 10 Flying Scotsman S. at Doncaster in a photo finish.
The Ralph Beckett-trained Angel Bleu was last seen landing the July 27 Vintage (G2) at Glorious Goodwood, where the soft going played to his strengths. The Dark Angel colt will be happy with the rainy forecast in Paris. Rounding out the British challenge is The Wizard of Eye, most recently fifth in the Sept. 5 Prix La Rochette (G3) at this track and trip.
The lone Irish shipper naturally represents Aidan O’Brien, but Stone Age doesn’t have the compelling profile often associated with Ballydoyle. Yet to break his maiden, the Galileo colt has run well in all three starts, including a near-miss in the Sept. 11 Champions Juvenile (G2) on Irish Champions Weekend.
The Coolmore partners have a more credentialed contender in Ancient Rome, based with French maestro Andre Fabre. The War Front colt extended his winning streak to three in the Sept. 9 Prix des Chenes (G3). The other French hope is unbeaten filly Accakaba, who beat males in a listed stakes two back and starred in the Prix Calvados (G2) in her latest.
Also undefeated is Rocchigiani, 2-for-2 so far in Germany. The Peter Schiergen pupil just edged fellow German shipper Arnis Master in a Group 3 at Baden-Baden.
Like all of the European Road races staged on turf in the fall, the Lagardere is worth points on the 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four.