Aidan O’Brien is double-handed in his bid for a fifth victory in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud on Saturday.
The Ballydoyle handler first claimed the Group One prize with Ballingarry in 2001 and has since struck gold with Alberto Giacometti (2002), Fame And Glory (2008) and Recital (2010).
His chief contender for this year’s renewal appears to be Norway, the mount of Seamie Heffernan.
The Galileo colt is a full-brother to Derby winner Rule The World and looked full of promise when quickening up smartly to win the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket last time out to prove this 10-furlong trip is no issue.
O’Brien said: “Norway is in good form. He won nicely the last day in Newmarket and he’s a horse that we think is progressing.”
Norway is joined by stable companion Sydney Opera House, who was three lengths behind Norway in the Zetland when favourite. Mikael Barzalona takes the ride.
“He’s in good form, he ran a good race in the same race in Newmarket and he seems to have come out of it well,” O’Brien added.
On what could be another big weekend for Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin trainer sends Shoot For Gold to France for this prestigious event.
Bin Suroor is currently making waves in Australia and his string has been resurgent this season, with Royal Marine winning the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc weekend.
Christophe Soumillon has been booked for the Sea The Stars colt, who won at Windsor by seven lengths on his second start having finished fifth on his debut in a maiden won by King Ottokar, who runs in Group One company at Doncaster this weekend.
“Shoot For Gold is a nice colt, who has improved with every start and won well at Windsor,” Bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com.
“He has shown some class in his work and we would prefer some ease in the ground, although good going will be fine for him.
“He is ready to go again and the step up to 10 furlongs should suit.”
Andrew Balding is running Fox Tal, a Ffos Las winner who was fourth in a Listed race over a mile last time out, while Archie Watson sends over Nate The Great, just over a length behind Norway in the Zetland.
Balding expects the longer trip to bring out more improvement in Fox Tal.
“He’s a horse we rate highly at home and it’s quite an open race,” he said.
“The extra couple of furlongs should suit him well and I’d hope he’d run well.”
Two fillies also take the plunge, Nicolas Clement’s Wonderment and the John Gosden-trained Shambolic, who won her first two and finished fourth in the Fillies’ Mile last time out.