Persian King Headlines Sunday Feast

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Persian King | Scoop Dyga

'TDN Rising Star' Persian King (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) heads to Chantilly on Sunday for another of the European Pattern's main staging posts tackling more than a mile once more in the G1 Prix d'Ispahan. Tried over the 10 1/2-furlong trip of the G1 Prix du Jockey Club here last June, Godolphin and Ballymore Thoroughbred Ltd's imposing bay came up two lengths short when runner-up to Sottsass (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) but it will be a surprise if he is not suited by this unique nine-furlong contest. Proving he retained all his ability when taking the G2 Prix du Muguet at Saint-Cloud June 28, last year's G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains hero will start a warm order for this prize and trainer Andre Fabre said, “Persian King is in really good form and has come on again from his latest start. We are hopeful of a good performance.”

Two lengths behind Persian King when third in the Jockey Club and suffering his sole career reversal, Sheikh Hamdan's Motamarris (Ire) (Le Havre {Ire}) was like that rival subsequently sidelined for the remainder of 2019. Back with a confidence-boosting four-length win in the June 20 Listed Grand Prix de Compiegne over 10 furlongs, the homebred has significant potential if Freddy Head can get a clear run with him this term. There is a 3-year-old in the line-up and Alan Spence's Positive (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}) warrants respect on his juvenile form. He beat Kameko (Kitten's Joy) and Al Suhail (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the seven-furlong G3 Solario S. at Sandown in August and it is significant that Clive Cox steps him up in trip after his comeback fourth in the G1 St James's Palace S. at Royal Ascot June 20. “He's in very good form and we're looking forward to running him,” his trainer said. “I thought he ran a very good race at Royal Ascot. He's a horse we've always held in high regard and hopefully he can continue to progress. I think he's a worthy contender in a Group 1 and we're looking forward to trying him over an extra furlong.”

In the G2 Darley Prix Robert Papin, Qatar Racing's June 19 G2 Norfolk S. scorer The Lir Jet (Ire) (Prince of Lir {Ire}) has scared off all bar three rivals in a poor turnout. Heading the opposition is Alain Jathiere's July 2 G3 Prix du Bois runner-up Axdavali (Fr) (Goken {Fr}), but trainer Michael Bell is confident his colt has a distinct edge. “We've been happy with our horse since Ascot. It's a small field and it will be interesting to see how the English 2-year-old form equates to the French 2-year-old form–on paper it looks like we've got the best form by some way,” he said. “Stepping up to six furlongs shouldn't be an issue–he hit the line strongly over five at Ascot and it took Oisin [Murphy] a while to pull him up, which is always a good sign.”

More high-profile juvenile action is on tap at The Curragh, where the six-furlong G2 Airlie Stud S. where SBA Racing Limited's June 27 Listed First Flier S. winner Frenetic (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) is the headline act. She encounters a pair of Ballydoyle representatives in the impressive July 4 G3 Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies' Sprint S. winner Mother Earth  (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) and 'TDN Rising Star' More Beautiful (War Front), with the latter having been withdrawn from Newmarket's G2 Duchess of Cambridge S. when the ground turned soft.

Also at The Curragh is the G2 Holden Plant Rentals Sapphire S. over five furlongs, where Shaikh Duaij Al Khalifa's 3-year-old A'Ali (Ire) (Society Rock {Ire}) seeks a fifth group win and fourth at this level having taken a competitive edition of the July 5 G3 Sandown Sprint S. He will have to contend with the triple listed scorer and track specialist Make a Challenge (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), who again proved his liking for this circuit when capturing the July 10 Listed Midsummer Sprint S. over 5 1/2 furlongs.

The Curragh also plays host to the nine-furlong G2 Kilboy Estate S., where Peter Brant's acquisition Lemista (Ire) (Raven's Pass) bids for a three-timer having annexed the G3 Park Express S. over a mile at Naas Mar. 23 and Gowran Park's Listed Victor McCalmont Memorial S. over an extended nine furlongs June 19. Craig Bernick's June 21 G3 Blue Wind S. winner One Voice (Ire) (Poet's Voice {GB}), Ballydoyle's July 13 Listed Cairn Rouge S. scorer Lovelier (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and The Aga Khan's 'TDN Rising Star' Ridenza (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) add ballast to an intriguing affair.

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