Saturday, 30th May 2020
Ziyad is a course and distance winner, and the chosen mount of French champion jockey Maxime Guyon in the extended 1m 4f Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly at Deauville this Sunday (16:00).
Trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias, this five-year-old by Rock Of Gibraltar is two from two at the venue. Ziyad first won at Deauville when beating the useful Master Of Reality in a Listed contest in August 2018.
The runner-up has since switched stables and is now with Joseph O’Brien. Master Of Reality landed the Group 3 Vintage Crop at Navan last term before finisihng a fine length third to Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup.
He also came a head second in the Melbourne Cup, only to have stewards relegate him to fourth. That is very good international form, and Ziyad has since proved effective dropping back in trip to this distance.
Although going down by a head to re-opposing owner companion Folamour in a Listed affair at Saint-Cloud on reappearance last season, he has run a string of fine races since.
They include when chinned close home by gutsy John Gosden mare Coronet in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. Ziyad had his moment, however, when landing the Grand Prix de Deauville in this grade next time out.
He was always doing enough to win and then a fine third in the Canadian International at Woodbine. Owned by the Wertheimer Brothers, Ziyad also scored on reappearance over an inadequate trip on the all-weather at Chantilly.
He has two victories over re-opposing mare Villa Rosa and now meets Folamour off 3lb better terms from last March. Coupled with his record at Deauville, Ziyad thus appeals most in a small but select renewal of the Grand Prix de Chantilly.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe ninth French King has interesting back form and a decent record at this trip, but has to give his five rivals 2lb and up.
Trained by Henri-Alex Pantall, this five-year-old won the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin at the Hoppegarten last summer. That means a penalty here which puts him at a disadvantage.
Winners at the highest level – albeit in Germany – command respect, however. Like Ziyad, French King had a run earlier this year winning a valuable race in Doha.
A sounder surface suits him and he didn’t appear to handle the very soft ground that the Arc was run on last autumn.
If turning up in the same shape that saw him win his other four starts last term, however, then French King has the ability to defy his penalty. He won twice in this grade at Cologne and Hannover en route to his big victory.
His sole career start at Deauville, on racecourse debut over a far too sharp 5f, can be disregarded. It is easy to oppose French King off top weight, though, and side with Ziyad instead.
The other four runners were all in-behind Shaman in the Prix d’Harcourt in the grade at Longchamp earlier this month. Way To Paris was best of those when taking second place close home.
Although better known as a stayer, the extra two furlongs are sure to suit this seven-year-old son of Champs Elysees.
Trained by Andrea Marcialis, who has been among the winners of late, Way To Paris has run well several times behind Arc hero Waldgeist earlier in his career.
The most recent of those came in the Group 2 Prix Foy at Longchamp last September. As Way To Paris was only beaten a couple of lengths, and the winner went on to land France’s most famous race, that form must be respected.
Although he ideally wants further, Way To Paris ran really well in the Prix d’Harcourt. He has needed a reappearance run in the past, but it would be no surprise to see him confirm form with Villa Rosa, Royal Julius and Folamour here.
As the quartet re-oppose off exactly the same term, Way To Paris could prove best of them again in the Grand Prix de Chantilly.