A top-notch renewal of the Prix de la Grotte at ParisLongchamp on Monday sees a showdown between Tropbeau and Khayzaraan.
Andre Fabre’s Tropbeau brings rock-solid credentials to the table following her third to Millisle and Raffle Prize in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket – a run that saw her stay on strongly and unlucky not to be closer still as she was squeezed for room close home.
The Freddy Head-trained Khayzaraan, meanwhile, created a real buzz in winning the last two of her three juvenile starts.
The Kingman filly carries the colours of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, whose racing manager Angus Gold said: “She’s a potentially exciting filly and she’s thrived physically over the winter.
“She’s really changed. We had her back at Shadwell for quite a while over the break and she’s really lengthened and strengthened.
“We’re up against the Fabre filly amongst others and obviously she’s a very good filly, but this filly looked pretty exciting at the end of last year. We were hoping to run her in a good race, but she just banged a joint and we couldn’t.
“She’s going to need it as she hasn’t run since September and I hope she doesn’t get too keen, as she can be a bit, but I think she is potentially a high-class filly.”
Head has raised a slight stamina question, with Khayzaraan’s sister Tantheem being a Group-winning sprinter.
Gold went on: “Although she was by Teofilo, she was a sprinter, so there is plenty of speed in the pedigree, but she (Khayzaraan) won twice at a mile so as long as she settles and behaves herself she’ll certainly stay the mile.
“She is potentially very exciting and if she proves up to it that (French 1000 Guineas) is what we’d like to do. No one really knows where their horses are with fitness and so on, so let’s just get started again.”
The first race of the day is the Group Three Prix de Saint-Georges, which features Pascal Bary’s Gold Vibe, who was the first French-trained runner home in last season’s Prix de l’Abbaye.