/ Racing

Style Vendome primed for Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly

Updated: Friday, 28 Jun 2013 17:52 | Comments

Style Vendome has won five of his six lifetime starts, with his only defeat coming over an inadequate trip on his racecourse debut
Style Vendome has won five of his six lifetime starts, with his only defeat coming over an inadequate trip on his racecourse debut

French 2000 Guineas hero Style Vendome gets the chance to prove himself the best of his generation in France as he goes for more Group One glory in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly on Sunday.

The Nicolas Clement-trained grey looked a potential Classic contender when winning the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte in early April and confirmed that impression with a smart performance in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp.

Clement considered a trip to Royal Ascot with his latest stable star, but decided to target the race he has won three times before with Le Balafre (1993), Vespone (2003) and most recently Stormy River (2006).

Clement said: "I have been very pleased with his preparation and we have put a pacemaker in the race (Top Chill) to ensure there is a strong pace.

"I am very happy with the horse. It is hard to judge whether he has improved since the French Guineas, but condition-wise, he looks a picture.

"It is a nice field. We hope for a clear run and we will see what happens."

The Chantilly handler is looking forward to seeing his charge taken on the older generation in the coming months, even raising the possibility of a trip to England for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October.

"This is the last Group One race for three-year-olds only, so it was an obvious choice for him," said the trainer.

"After, this hopefully he will take on older horses in the obvious races. The Prix Jacques le Marois, the Prix de la Foret and the QEII at Ascot are all options."

"It is hard to judge whether he has improved since the French Guineas, but condition-wise, he looks a picture" - Nicolas Clement on Style Vendome

Leading owner Sheikh Fahad has three Prix Jean Prat representatives running under his Qatar Racing banner in Anna's Pearl, Pearl Flute and Havana Gold.

Retained rider Jamie Spencer has sided with Ralph Beckett-trained Anna's Pearl, an impressive winner of a Goodwood maiden last time.

Mickael Barzalona takes the ride on Richard Hannon's Havana Gold, who was not far behind Style Vendome when fifth in the French Guineas, while Umberto Rispoli is on Pearl Flute, trained in France by Francis-Henri Graffard.

Sheikh Fahad's racing manager, David Redvers, said: "I think all three of them have bits of chances. I hope the ground doesn't get too slow for Havana Gold, but then I hope it gets really slow for Anna's Pearl. Pearl Flute just wants nice ground.

"I think there is plenty of rain around and Jamie said Anna's Pearl gave him a good feel last time, so he has gone with her.

"Style Vendome won the French Guineas, but Havana Gold wasn't far behind and I'd like to think we won't be far away again.

"Hopefully all three of them will run well."

The only Irish challenger is Aidan O'Brien's Lines Of Battle, second behind Trading Leather at the Curragh earlier this month.

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