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Andre Fabre labels Intello 'exceptional' ahead of Prix Jacques le Marois

Updated: Friday, 09 Aug 2013 14:45 | Comments

Intello scored at the top level for the first time in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in June
Intello scored at the top level for the first time in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in June

Trainer Andre Fabre labelled star colt Intello "exceptional" ahead of what promises to be a thrilling Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Sunday.

The Galileo colt has won five of his six competitive starts to date, and suffered his only defeat when an unlucky third in the French 2,000 Guineas at Longchamp.

He stepped up to an extended mile and a quarter to run out a brilliant winner of the French Derby at Chantilly on his next outing, before coming back to a mile to land the Group Three Prix Messidor at Maisons-Laffitte.

Intello returns to the highest level for a mouth-watering affair which features Dawn Approach, as well as Moonlight Cloud and Elusive Kate.

Fabre feels his latest stable star may be more effective over a longer distance, but is happy to let him test his powers against the best milers in Europe, such is the faith he has in the three-year-old.

"It is going to be a very interesting race, for sure, but we are looking forward to it," said the legendary trainer.

"I am scared of the two older horses (Moonlight Cloud and Elusive Kate).

"They are in good shape and coming in off very good runs. They both enjoy the straight tracks and they will be difficult to beat.

"I think the two three-year-olds, Intello and Dawn Approach, have shown they are top class and the ratings are very close, I believe.

"I think Intello has the class and ability to be a top-class miler, but he is probably more efficient at a mile and a quarter.

"It is a challenge taking on the best milers, but a challenge we are happy to take.

"There are one or two showers around, but the ground should be good, which should be fine for everyone."

The French handler believes Intello could yet develop into a realistic challenger for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, a race run over half a mile further than the Marois.

Fabre, who saddled seven previous Arc winners, said: "We have the Arc in mind, but we will see how he runs in the Marois and how he takes the race.

"To run in try and win the Marois over a mile and the Arc over a mile and a half is an ambitious plan. It is either ambitious or stupid, we will see.

"I think Intello is an exceptional horse. His confirmation, his pedigree and his attitude tell me is not the average horse."

Dawn Approach is turning out just 11 days after suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of old rival Toronado in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, but Jim Bolger is not one to shirk a challenge.

He said: "I love the competition at the highest level and this is as high as you get, so I'm looking forward to the race.

"Intello and Moonlight Cloud are obviously very good horses.

"I discussed (running at Deauville) with Simon Crisford (Godolphin racing manager), who discussed it with Sheikh Mohammed, and they were very much up for it.

"It wasn't too difficult a decision (to run), once we knew he was well and had plenty of life in him.

"He shows his well-being very well, so it's fairly easy to gauge.

"I haven't had a winner there (at Deauville), but I've been there before. Hopefully this will be it."

Moonlight Cloud was a brilliant winner of last Sunday's Prix Maurice de Gheest at this track and trainer Freddie Head has no fears about running her again so quickly.

The five-year-old attempted the double last season, but finished an unlucky fourth behind Excelebration in the Marois.

Head said: "It is going to be a very good race, of course, but I am very happy with my filly.

"She has only run twice this year and has not had a hard race either time, so I think she will be fresher than most of the horses in the race.

"She came out of last week's race very well and it wasn't a difficult decision to let her run again. It has been the plan for a long time to run in both races and she almost won both last year.

"I think she was quite unlucky in the Marois a year ago."

Head sees fellow mare Elusive Kate as the biggest danger to his charge.

"I think Elusive Kate is the horse I fear most, I'm not sure about the three-year-olds," said the trainer.

The John Gosden-trained Elusive Kate has been in superb form this summer, landing the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket before successfully defending her crown in the Prix Rothschild over this weekend's course and distance a fortnight ago.

Patrick Barbe, racing manager for owner Teruya Yoshida, said: "It is a fantastic race with Intello, Moonlight Cloud, Elusive Kate and others in there.

"Our filly is drawn in stall one, which is good for her. As long as she gets off to a good start, we hope she will be very competitive. We cannot say any more than that.

"We were confident going into the Prix Rothschild, but it is a different story this weekend.

"She is running against colts and the champion of Andre Fabre's stable (Intello), so we will just have to wait and see what happens."

Roger Varian's Aljamaaheer was placed in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot before recording a deserved victory in the Group Two Summer Mile last month.

Varian said: "It's a very good race. All the top milers are there bar Toronado, I think.

"Our horse goes there in good form. I think he's sixth best on ratings and sixth best in the betting forecast and that's about where he stands.

"The one thing that maybe is in our favour is that Dawn Approach and Declaration Of War both had a hard race in the Sussex at Goodwood and Moonlight Cloud only ran a week ago.

"We missed Goodwood and are going there nice and fresh.

"I'm not saying those horses won't run up to form, but if we're going to take them on, now is probably the best time to do it.

"The ground should be fine and the straight mile suits our horse, so we'll certainly know exactly where we stand on Sunday night, which is what we want.

"He has a bit to find on the book, but if one or two don't perform and our horse ran a career-best, it might not be enough to win but it might be enough to finish in the first three, which would raise his profile again."

Although Toronado is not in attendance, his trainer Richard Hannon and owner Sheikh Joaan Al Thani are represented by Olympic Glory.

The three-year-old disappointed when favourite for the French 2000 Guineas, but Hannon is hopeful he can bounce back.

The Wiltshire handler told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk: "He hasn't run since disappointing from a bad draw in the French 2000 Guineas, but it was the second half of the season last year when he really started to shine, and he could be a late summer, early autumn type of horse.

"He made heavy weather of winning the Superlative at Newmarket's July meeting (last year), but he improved plenty to come from last to first in the Vintage at Goodwood and then produced that fabulous performance to win the Lagardere at Longchamp on Arc day."

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