The Platinum Queen looking to be crowned in Paris
The Platinum Queen attempts to end a 44-year wait for a juvenile winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye when she lines up in the ParisLongchamp Group One on Sunday.
The last juvenile to land the five-furlong contest was Criquette Head-Maarek’s Sigy in 1978 and since then many have tried but ultimately failed – Soldiers Call (third in 2018) and Kingsgate Native (second in 2007) the most recent to make the frame.
Richard Fahey’s speedy daughter of Cotai Glory has already met her elders once this season when second to Highfield Princess in the Nunthorpe and arrives in the French capital having gone down fighting in a thrilling finish to the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster most recently.
The flying filly has been handed stall seven and connections are hopeful of another huge performance.
“The draw gods have smiled on us somewhat being in seven,” said Tom Palin of owners Middleham Park Racing. “You’re closer to the rail there and a few of her market rivals are drawn a little bit less favourably than ourselves. A few of the pace angles are sort of on the outside also.
“In theory, as long as she breaks well, she should be able to get out and get a nice forward position on the rail.
“Although the draw gods have been kind, the weather gods have been slightly turning against us. You’re never going to know the true extent of it until you get there because they only have that one race on the straight course.
“It’s not going to be her most favourable conditions, but you are not going to get many other days where you are favourite for a Group One and getting all that weight from rivals. I think she will take her chance and we’ll just have to see to what extent that soft ground blunts her speed and takes its toll on her.
There's a lot of unknowns going into it but would I swap her? Absolutely not
“It will be interesting to see how all the form lines tie in and it will be an exciting race. There’s a lot of unknowns going into it but would I swap her? Absolutely not.”
One the draw has not been so kind to is defending champion A Case Of You, with Adrian McGuinness’ charge posted wide in stall 19.
“He’s in very good form. I was a bit disappointed with his last run, but it was his first outing in three months and he always likes a run or two just to really sharpen him up,” said the Irish handler.
“Now we’ve been handed a shocking draw, we’re 19 of 19 which is a big downer. It’s going to be very hard to win from there but we’re going to give it a try and the slower the ground, the better.
“No one wants to be drawn on a wing, we were drawn out wide in the Flying Five as well, so we’re just not having that luck with the draws at the moment.”
Flotus finished best of those who took part in the Curragh’s Flying Five Stakes last month when third and joint-trainer Ed Crisford believes the consistent filly can put in another huge performance.
He said: “She is in great order and came out of the race at the Curragh well. She ran a super race in the Flying Five. She is drawn nine, so that is fine – you want low numbers there.
“It was soft ground at the Curragh and it rained all day, she won at Goodwood in soft ground as a two-year-old, so hopefully she will get through it, especially over five (furlongs). If she handles the conditions, she should have every chance and run a big race.”
It is 20 years since Continent won the race for David Nicholls and his son Adrian attempts to match his father’s achievement with his two raiders. He saddles last year’s fourth Mo Celita and the progressive Tees Spirit, who has won five times this term and heads to Paris in search of a hat-trick.
“We’re looking forward to it and we’re happy with the draws for them in three (Mo Celita) and six – that is good,” said Nicholls.
“Barry (McHugh) is very happy with Tees Spirit, he has improved all year and deserves a crack at this.
“Jason Hart is on Mo Celita and that is great because he is a great jockey on pace horses, so we are delighted to get him.
“It’s not an easy race, obviously a Group One isn’t going to be easy, but they are both in great order. It’s a privilege for a small yard with less than 20 horses to have two in a Group One.”
There isn't many sprints he didn't win so I've got a lot of catching up to do.
On matching his father, he added: “There aren’t many sprints he didn’t win, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. But we’ll give it a good go and hopefully they can both run well.”
Roger Varian’s Mitbaahy is given the chance to test his mettle in Group One company having progressed nicely this term. He will be attempting to confirm Newbury World Trophy form over Teresa Mendoza, while Clive Cox believes Caturra is capable of landing a blow from stall four.
“He’s in excellent form,” said Cox. “He was drawn very much out on a limb at the Curragh in the Flying Five last time. He’s pleased me very much with his well being and he’s a horse with plenty of ability who was good enough to win a Flying Childers last year. I’m happy and he’s in good nick.”
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