Andre Fabre enjoyed more winners than any other trainer at Clairefontaine last year, sending out seven winners from his 20 runners at an impressive strike rate of 35%. He may not have an entry in the feature race on the card, but he does have a couple of interesting runners in the Prix du Marche Aux Fleurs, a maiden for three-year-olds at 11:40 BST.
Frankel filly Vintern is arguably his first string after finishing fourth in a hotly-contested newcomers’ race for fillies at Deauville last July (two from that race were next-time-out winners), while Kingman filly Havasu is surely capable of better than she showed on debut at Saint-Cloud last May.
Mickael Barzalona ended last term with the joint-most victories at Clairefontaine, and is second only to Christophe Soumillion at the venue in the last five years. He has five rides on the card, including the undefeated Ziegfield (trained by Fabre) in the Prix de Beausejour at 11:10, but his best chance may come aboard another Godolphin charge in Midnight Shine (12:50).
Midnight Shine has some solid form behind him and notably conceded weight all round to land a handicap at Compiegne at the end of last season. He could only manage sixth at the same venue on his reappearance but should strip fitter for that outing and looks the pick of the bunch in the Prix du Pont Au Change.
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The feature race on the card is the Group 3 Prix du Palais-Royal at 12:10. Traditionally run at Longchamp, the race has been forced to take up temporary residence at Clairefontaine, but that has not stopped a host of decent horses from taking up their entries. Stunning Spirit showed he retains all his ability when winning a Group 2 at Doha earlier this year, while Devil should prove better suited over this shorter trip.
However, it is ultimately difficult to get away from Spinning Memories. After disappointing efforts in the Prix de l’Abbaye on her final start last year, and in a minor event at Chantilly on her reappearance, she bounced back to form with victory in a Longchamp listed race earlier this month, leading inside the final furlong and finishing well on top to get the better of Wasmya.
She sets the standard in the race and can give in-form trainer Pascal Bary another winner.
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