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Ramadan has significant hopes of providing Head with another French Classic

3 minute read

Her power up the Longchamp straight resulted in comprehensive victory for Blue Rose Cen in the 2023 G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (1600m) and her trainer Christopher Head has a strong chance of victory in this year’s colts’ equivalent Classic, Sunday’s (12 May) G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1600m).

ParisLongchamp, France
ParisLongchamp, France Picture: Pat Healy Photography

Head believes Europe's wet spring should be helpful for Ramadan, his Poulains' aspirant, who is unbeaten in two starts this year. "We only know him as a soft-ground horse but I'm pretty sure he will be even more powerful on better ground," the trainer said.

Ramadan 's first 2024 venture came in the Listed Prix Omnium II (1600m) at Saint-Cloud in March. The ground was so testing that day that Head says it was "not a serious race," though the trainer added that it did at least help with the son of Le Havre's fitness preparation.

Much more significant, according to the trainer, was the colt's Poulains course and distance victory in last month's G3 Prix de Fontainebleau (1600m) when he was in front for most of the way with Aurelien Lemaitre's mount quickening again to repel Beauvatier's significant challenge.

"This time Ramadan proved his class and bravery and also that he handles Longchamp's 1600m," is the observation of the trainer who hails from one of the great French racing families.

Beauvatier  (Maxime Guyon) will oppose again and with only a three-quarter of a length deficit to reverse trainer Yann Barberot sounds bullish about his colt who had stretched an unbeaten run to four when winning Longchamp's G3 Prix la Rochette (1400m) last September.

Deauville-based Barberot says: "Remember Ramadan already had a race this year which we hadn't. I consider that the Fontainebleau was a good stepping stone to Sunday's Classic and I would like to think that I have Beauvatier just right."

Other serious challengers include unbeaten Aidan O'Brien-trained Henry Longfellow, last seen when breezing to a five-length victory in September's G1 National Stakes (1400m) at the Curragh. From an excellent family and out of a mare (Minding) who won over 2400m there should be no stamina 1600m worries. This Irish raider comes from a stable that have plundered this French Classic five times and victory would surely restore their confidence after City Of Troy's unsatisfactory performance in last weekend's Newmarket 2000 Guineas.

O'Brien also has possibilities in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches with Content who clearly thrived on a busy two-year-old career, ending 2023 on a high when a fast-finishing fourth in the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (1600m) at Santa Anita last November.

But the opposition is ferocious and includes unbeaten Louise Procter  whose trainer Jean-Claude Rouget is a five-time Pouliches-winning trainer. It also includes Charlie Appleby trained Romantic Style who prepared for this when winning the G3 Prix Imprudence (1400m) at Deauville last month. She fought hard to fend off Ramatuelle that day, with that filly's narrow defeat in last Sunday's G1 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Newmarket suggesting that it was a high class and potent performance.

Hong Kong Jockey Club

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