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Recoletos on course to wave flag for France in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

3 Oct 2018

French-trained horses have won two of the past four renewals of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO)

The Gallic contingent appear to have another ace up their sleeves in Recoletos, who is one of 26 entries – no fewer than ten of them Group 1 winners – to stand their ground.

Trained by 55-year-old Carlos Laffon-Parias in Chantilly, the four-year-old finished fourth to Cracksman in the QIPCO Champion Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day last year but has proven an even greater force back in distance this year.

He won the Churchill Coolmore Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp in May and struck again at the highest level on his latest start when landing the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. In between those triumphs, he beat all bar the now-retired Alpha Centauri in the Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

Lightning Spear (winner of the Qatar Sussex Stakes), Accidental Agent (Queen Anne Stakes), Without Parole (St James’s Palace Stakes), Rhododendron (Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes) and Romanised (Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas) have already enjoyed days in the sun over a mile this year, while Lord Glitters, who seems to have a soft spot for Ascot, has been hard to fault since his dramatic triumph in the QIPCO-sponsored Balmoral Handicap on QIPCO British Champions Day last year.

Roaring Lion has won his past three starts, all in Group 1 company, but the QIPCO Champion Stakes is the preferred option of his connections (see David Redvers quotes near the top of the release).

Beat The Bank has chalked up two Group 2 triumphs this season, while Expert Eye, who has twice made the frame in Group 1 company since his runaway win in the Jersey Stakes, and Addeybb, fluent winner of the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown in the spring, are among other intriguing contenders.

Roger Varian saddled Belardo to finish second to Solow in the 2015 renewal at big odds and is keen to run the lightly raced Zabeel Prince, who had been off almost four months because of injury before finishing a half-length runner-up to Mustashry in the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket last week.

“I thought at the two-furlong pole he’d slipped the field and had it won but I suppose the winner had race fitness,” Varian said “Mustashry is a tough horse, isn’t he?

“It was a good run and you would have to let him take his chance in the QEII after that. Look what happened at Royal Ascot [when outsiders fought out the finish of the Queen Anne Stakes]. My guy does want soft ground, so rain would be a help.”

Aidan O’Brien has eight entries to shuffle. He won the 2016 running with Minding and his possible representatives include another filly in the shape of Clemmie, a leading two-year-old last season who hinted she was returning to that kind of level when third behind Laurens and Alpha Centauri in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on her latest start.

“The plan for Clemmie is the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday and QIPCO British Champions Day is a possible after that,” O’Brien said. “She’s in good shape and if the ground was nice we’d be delighted.”

Horse Age Sire Weight Trainer
Accidental Agent (GB) 4 Delegator (GB) 9 4 Eve Johnson Houghton
Addeybb (IRE) 4 Pivotal (GB) 9 4 William Haggas
Beat The Bank (GB) 4 Paco Boy (IRE) 9 4 Andrew Balding
Century Dream (IRE) 4 Cape Cross (IRE) 9 4 Simon Crisford
Gabrial (IRE) 9 Dark Angel (IRE) 9 4 Richard Fahey
Lightning Spear (GB) 7 Pivotal (GB) 9 4 David Simcock
Lord Glitters (FR) 5 Whipper (USA) 9 4 David O’Meara
Recoletos (FR) 4 Whipper (USA) 9 4 C. Laffon-Parias
Stormy Antarctic (GB) 5 Stormy Atlantic (USA) 9 4 Ed Walker
Zabeel Prince (IRE) 5 Lope de Vega (IRE) 9 4 Roger Varian
Aljazzi (GB) 5 Shamardal (USA) 9 1 Marco Botti
Expert Eye (GB) 3 Acclamation (GB) 9 1 Sir Michael Stoute
Gustav Klimt (IRE) 3 Galileo (IRE) 9 1 Aidan O’Brien
Hey Gaman (GB) 3 New Approach (IRE) 9 1 James Tate
Hydrangea (IRE) 4 Galileo (IRE) 9 1 Aidan O’Brien
Rhododendron (IRE) 4 Galileo (IRE) 9 1 Aidan O’Brien
Roaring Lion (USA) 3 Kitten’s Joy (USA) 9 1 John Gosden
Romanised (IRE) 3 Holy Roman Emperor (IRE) 9 1 K. J. Condon
St Patrick’s Day (USA) 3 Pioneerof the Nile (USA) 9 1 Aidan O’Brien
Wilamina (IRE) 5 Zoffany (IRE) 9 1 Martyn Meade
Without Parole (GB) 3 Frankel (GB) 9 1 John Gosden
Clemmie (IRE) 3 Galileo (IRE) 8 12 Aidan O’Brien
Happily (IRE) 3 Galileo (IRE) 8 12 Aidan O’Brien
Homerique (USA) 3 Exchange Rate (USA) 8 12 Francis-Henri Graffard
I Can Fly (GB) 3 Fastnet Rock (AUS) 8 12 Aidan O’Brien
Magical (IRE) 3 Galileo (IRE) 8 12 Aidan O’Brien