Fabre trio set for Guineas weekend
12 Apr 2017
Impressive Prix Djebel winner Al Wukair amongst QIPCO 2000 Guineas entries
Al Wukair will head Andre Fabre‘s team of three to contest the QIPCO Guineas Festival next month.
The Al Shaqab-owned colt is unbeaten after taking the Group 3 Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte last weekend and will put that record on the line on Saturday 6th May when he lines up at Newmarket for the £500,000 QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
However, Fabre – who has landed six of the first eight Pattern races in France this season – will also be sending over two other familiar faces for shots at QIPCO British Champions Series redemption.
Cloth of Stars
Former Derby contender Cloth of Stars landed the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt in a record time on Sunday and Fabre’s preference is for the colt to contest the £100,000 Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes on Guineas weekend – although owners Godolphin will have the final say on where he lines up.
Fabre said: “I was delighted with Cloth Of Stars’ win on Sunday, especially since he would have been better suited by a longer trip. He is also entered in the 2100 metre Prix Ganay a week before the Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes and I will leave it to his owners [Godolphin] to decide where he goes, although the mile and a half at Newmarket could be ideal for him.
“He has never run at Newmarket before but I have no worries about the course – every horse should be suited by the course there.”
Cloth Of Stars is one of 29 top quality entries for the Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes. Irish Champion Trainer Aidan O’Brien has three engaged and has suggested that this could be the next target for his Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic runner-up, Seventh Heaven, while a strong potential foreign challenge could also include The Grey Gatsby, having his first run for new trainer Dermot Weld, and Alain de Royer-Dupre’s dual Group 2 scorer, One Foot In Heaven.
The home team features numerous high class performers such as Her Majesty The Queen’s Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes hero, Dartmouth; Hawkbill, winner of last year’s Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes; and Hugo Palmer’s unbeaten Sea The Stars colt, Crimean Tatar.
Usherette is also owned by Godolphin and was last seen contesting the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes where she finished a disappointing sixth, having won twice on these shores previous. However, Fabre reported that she has wintered well and is eyeing top level success with her after she contests the Group 2 £90,000 Dahlia Stakes.
“Usherette has had a long rest and it is a case of so far so good with her – she looks great, stronger than before, and has been working well. I do not intend to run her before the Charm Spirit Dahlia Stakes as I don’t want to rush her – she goes on any ground.
“Her target for the season is to win a Group 1. If could be more difficult for her this year as in 2016 she was an unknown filly but now everyone has seen exactly what she is capable of.”
She has 16 possible opponents including last October’s Group 1 Prix de l’Opera third, So Mi Dar; Smart Call, a three-time Group 1 scorer in her native South Africa now trained by Sir Michael Stoute; and Mick Channon’s pair of Opal Tiara and Czabo, both already successful in Pattern company this term.
Earlier in the week, Fabre admitted the step up to a mile for the first Classic race of the season would be of benefit to Al Wukair, saying: “I’m very pleased and he will now go to Newmarket. He is a very different horse to Zafonic. He was like a powerful bull. This is a more laid-back horse, but he has a beautiful action and a lot of class.
“I wouldn’t say he was green, he was just a little bit flat-footed over the seven furlongs. I think stepping up to a mile will help him.”
And this is how he did it! How big a player could he be in the 2000 Guineas? pic.twitter.com/kCZtnPpGHm
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) April 10, 2017