01 October 2021

Mullins full of hope Princess Zoe can land Cadran repeat

01 October 2021

Tony Mullins is backing Princess Zoe to defend her Prix du Cadran title at ParisLongchamp on Saturday.

The mare was a half-length winner of the race last season, the climax of a five-race winning streak that began in handicaps and included the Listed Oyster Stakes before the significant step up to Group One company.

The race was run on heavy ground in 2020, with softer going very much to Princess Zoe’s liking and the surface on which all of her seven successes have come.

Though not a winner since her Cadran triumph, the grey has still showed her ability this season and was particularly gallant when finishing second behind Subjectivist in an Ascot Gold Cup run on unsuitable good to firm ground.

Princess Zoe passing Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Ascot (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)

“We think she is in great form and all is good with her. She’s settled well, she’s a very good traveller,” Mullins said of his stable star on Friday afternoon.

“It’s cold here but the rain we’re looking for hasn’t come just yet, it would leave the ground slower than perfect ground which would be just lovely for us.

“It’s good ground at the moment, I don’t know where they’ve got the soft from, it’s perfectly good ground bordering on good to firm so I’d rather a bit of rain. I think it’s important for us, I don’t need it soft, I just don’t want any firm in it.”

As a previous winner Princess Zoe is naturally proven over the trip, a major plus against rivals not necessarily proven at the extreme distance.

The obvious exception is John and Thady Gosden’s Stradivarius, an evergreen champion of the staying division who bounced back from an Ascot Gold Cup defeat to take a third Lonsdale Cup and a second Doncaster Cup.

“The trip is no problem to Stradivarius, so that puts him as the danger – or we’re the danger to him,” Mullins said.

“We beat him at Ascot, they’re of the opinion they were in unlucky in Ascot but I couldn’t see that, I’m quite happy that wherever he is, we’ll be very, very close, if not in front of him.

“She’s a lovely grey filly and even though she’s not won this year, she has become very reliable, we’re hoping that she will bring us another huge day.”

Stradivarius will be ridden as ever by Frankie Dettori, who has steered the chestnut to victory 14 times – including six wins at Group One level.

“What more can be said about Stradivarius?,” the jockey said via his Sporting Index blog.

“He’s an absolute legend and I’m excited to get back on him in the Group One Prix du Cadran.

Stradivarius in action in the Gold Cup at Ascot (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)

“His last two efforts have been excellent and this will be his first go at this race – he was running in the Arc this time last year.

“Hopefully the ground won’t be too soft and the rain stays away.

“It looks a very strong race with last year’s winner Princess Zoe and Trueshan in there. They both like soft ground so it should be a really interesting watch.”

Of potential ground conditions, Thady Gosden said: “We’re obviously hoping it’s not going to be as bad on Saturday as it looks like it could be on Sunday.

“The last time I checked the forecast it suggested the worst of the rain was due to fall after racing on Saturday, but obviously, as ever, the forecast can change at any time.

“We’ll just have to see what happens, get there tomorrow and have a look, hopefully it’s not too bad.”

Alan King’s Cadran hope Trueshan (Tess Derry/PA) (PA Wire)

Another key challenger is the Alan King-trained Trueshan, who is also at home on softer ground and will take on the two-and-a-half-mile trip for the first time.

It was on soft going at Goodwood in July that he claimed his first Group One prize, winning the Goodwood Cup by three and three-quarter lengths over two miles.

The gelding is usually partnered by Hollie Doyle, but owing to a seven-day suspension she is unavailable and will be replaced by James Doyle.

“He’s an exciting ride,” the stand-in jockey said.

“It’s his first time at the trip so it’s a bit unknown, but he certainly stays the two miles well.

“It looks as though he’ll get his ground, it’s a very wet forecast, that’s pleasing to see.”

Alongside Princess Zoe, the Irish have two more chances in the shape of Donnacha O’Brien’s Emperor Of The Sun and Willie Mullins’ Stratum.

Prix Kergorlay winner Skazino is also entered for Cedric Rossi along with the in-form Bubble Smart, who represents Mikel Delzangles and has won his past three races.

Last year’s runner-up Alkuin runs again for Nicolas Caullery, with Freddy Head’s third-placed Call The Wind set to tackle the race once more.

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