Alain de Royer-Dupré is never short of good horses in his yard at Chantilly and Vazirabad’s easy victory in the Dubai Gold Cup in March has opened the door to many exciting new avenues, like a drop back in trip for the Coronation Cup at Epsom on Derby Day.
The HH Aga Khan-owned son of Manduro will be looking to extend his winning streak at top level this season and is certainly an interesting addition to the Coronation Cup, where he could meet King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and recent Dubai Sheema Classic winner Postponed.
As always, the breeding operation of HH Aga Khan has provided Alain de Royer-Dupré with a number of exciting three-year-olds, including Zarak, a son of Champion mare Zarkava that could make history in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Deauville this year.
Here, top French trainer Alain de Royer-Dupré opens his yard to attheraces.com’s Liz Price and discusses the top older horses and three-year-olds in his care.
4 gr f Dalakhani – Candara
Runner-up to Treve in the Qatar Prix Vermeille last year, she then went on to lift the Group 2 Qatar Prix de Royallieu. She ended her season at Ascot with a run in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, where she produced a lacklustre performance to finish second last. She recently made a pleasing start to the season with a second place in the Group 3 Prix de Barbeville over 1 mile 7 furlongs.
“Candarliya spent her winter at the stud. She ran a lot at three and when we came to Ascot it was just a race too much. She is a very genuine filly who can run in any ground. She has taken over from Vazirabad in the French stayers' races. One of the races that could be on her agenda is the Yorkshire Oaks. We have won it once, so it would be nice to go back to York. There is a race at Saint-Cloud where she could run before that. She has a lot of stamina.”
4 b c Shamardal – Daryakana
A Group 2 winner over the mile and a quarter last year, he finished third to Highland Reel in the Longines Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin at the end of last season. He then went to Dubai where he was beaten three lengths by Postponed when they met in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold. However, when they met again in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, he never got close to Postponed and finally finished sixth from nine.
“Dariyan wasn’t in his best form when he ran in the Dubai Sheema Classic. He doesn’t like soft ground and if the ground is good he will run in the Prix Ganay at Saint-Cloud. I actually think that he could make a nice horse for America. He doesn’t like the ups and downs of Chantilly and prefers flat tracks. He could also have a race like the Arlington Million in Chicago as a target. I think he is better over a mile and a quarter than over the mile and the half.”
4 b c High Chaparral – Karawana
A group 3 winner last year, he was destined for Classic glory but got knocked in the Prix du Jockey Club, where he eventually finished eighth. He was then given a break in order to recuperate and ended his three-year-old season with a victory in the Group 3 Prix du Prince d’Orange. He made his seasonal reappearance in the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt, where he was beaten 7 lengths by Garlingari.
“His seasonal reappearance was a bit disappointing. He was far too keen. So we shall see where he goes next and what he does next. He does need soft ground, so that will play a part in where he goes. He is definitely a Group 2 horse and maybe even a Group 1 horse. He looks like a true mile and a quarter horse.”
ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN
4 b c Fastnet Rock – Pride
A son of triple Group 1-winning mare Pride, he ran three times as a three-year-old. This season he successfully made the step up in class when he lifted the listed Prix Lord Seymour at Maisons-Laffitte over 1 ½ mile.
“This is a good horse. He will probably have his next start in the Group 3 Prix d’Hedouville at Saint-Cloud over 1 ½ mile. He is very much like his dam in the sense that he has a nice turn of foot. It was amazing at Maisons-Laffitte where at half way he was galloping exactly 100 meters from the leader and Soumillon stayed very calm and then let him loose. He is definitely going to improve. He is the right type and horses that can accelerate like him are a real pleasure to work with. He doesn’t need to fight it out because he makes all the difference with just one turn of foot.”
4 b f Galileo – Sichilla
She won her maiden on her second start last year and was a winner on her seasonal reappearance in a conditions race at Saint-Cloud. She has won over the mile in very soft ground.
“She had a bit of a leg problem last year and that is why she is lightly raced. She won very impressively the other day at Saint-Cloud. We are going to take our time with her. I think she is very good, but we have to be careful where we run her because I wouldn’t want her to get injured. I think she will run in a listed race in May at Chantilly and then we shall see. She will remain over the mile and I wouldn’t rule out that she could run in a Group 1.”
4 b g Manduro – Visorama
Vazirabad has not been defeated since July 2015. He has steadily climbed the ladder from Group 3 to Group 2 success and ended the season with a convincing victory in the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak, which falls just short of 2 miles at Saint-Cloud. He then travelled to Dubai, where he beat Melbourne Cup fifth Big Orange in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup. He came from off the pace, producing an impressive turn of foot.
“He will now go for the Coronation Cup at Epsom. I know I said in Dubai that we want to avoid Postponed, but I think we will nevertheless run him in the Coronation Cup, even if Postponed is there. We don’t really have a choice, it’s that and the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. You can do both. His strength is his turn of foot and he can accelerate over 2 miles just as he will be able to do over 1 ½ mile. If a horse wins six times in a row, it must mean something. However, he is a gelding, so some options are not open to him.”
3 b f Oasis Dream – Caesarine
“I still have a lot of fillies in my yard that haven’t run yet. I like to take my time with fillies and seeing that the weather was not very good, I don’t like to send them out onto soft tracks for a first start. Ciacona is the sister of Cladocera. She is well-bred and could be one to watch out for.”
3 b c Dansili – Daryakana
He made his debut at Saint-Cloud in April when he finished third to Private Affair in the ten furlong Prix Mississipian in very soft ground.
“This is a half-brother of Dariyan. He was third on his first start of his career, which was a good performance. He is a huge horse and that tacky ground was probably not really what he would have preferred. He is bound to improve a lot. And he will stay the mile and a half as he has a Prix Vermeille and a Prix de Diane winner on his dam side. He is entered in all the good races. All of that family are late developers. I mean his half-brother Dariyan was also beaten on his first start.”
3 b f Monsun – Daryaba
“This is also a filly that looks promising. She is very well bred. Her dam won the Prix de Diane and the Prix Vermeille.”
3 b c Stormy Atlantic – Saliyna
Made his racecourse debut last year in November when he won his maiden over the mile in heavy ground at Saint-Cloud.
“He hasn’t come back in form yet this season. He is just showing the first signs that he is coming back. He is from the same family as Slickly. He is not an easy horse to train, as he is quite tense. But he could be something, we will just have to be patient. But anything like the Poule d’Essai des Poulains is coming too early for him.”
3 b f Siyouni – Tianshan
Trixia was unbeaten in four starts last year. She ended her two-year-old season with an easy victory in the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs over the mile. She has won in soft and in good ground. During her two-year-old season she was trained by Frederic Rossi. She joined the Alain de Royer Dupre stable during the winter. She was fourth on her seasonal reappearance in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte, which was won by the Al Shaqab Racing Classic hope Qemah.
“I am still getting to know Trixia. She came here during the winter and it took her some time to adapt. She just about came right for the Prix de la Grotte, but I think she still needed that race. I was pleased with that run. She has entries in all of the good races and will come on from that.”
3 b c Dubai – Vadawina
Vedevani ran twice as a two-year-old. He was beaten a length and three quarters by Cloth Of Stars in the Group 3 Prix des Chenes over a mile. On his seasonal reappearance in the Group 3 Prix Djebel he suffered interference from the Richard Fahey trained Ribchester and never finished his race. He then ran in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau where he came fourth, but where he was only beaten a length.
“He won on his debut. And in the Prix Djebel he was literally stopped in his tracks. This is the reason why we ran him again in the Prix de Fontainebleau. And he ran well in that race. He came as if to win and then faded, so maybe that was a bit too long for him. Maybe he needs to run over 7 furlongs. He has a lot of qualities, but he is not quite that straight forward.”
3 b c Dubawi – Zarkava
Unbeaten in two starts, the son of Zarkava has so far done everything he was asked. His first start this season in the mile Prix de la Croix de Chavaux saw him run against the promising Jean-Claude Rouget trained George Patton whom he beat by a neck.
“I ran him over the straight mile at Maisons-Laffitte with the Poule d’Essai des Poulains in mind. The French classic is run at Deauville this year, so I thought that would be a good trial. He has won in heavy and soft ground. What I liked about him was that he was very professional, even though he was less experienced than some of the others. And that is important, especially over the mile at Deauville. He is quite mature, as he also was left completely unperturbed by the lose horse at the start and didn’t mind Christophe getting off him to be led around. The only thing is, if he hits the front too soon, he stops.”