Hamdan al Maktoum's 4-year-old Taareef and Al Shaqab Racing's 3-year-old Al Wukair (IRE), headline the field for Sunday's straight course, one-mile Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le Buffard – Jacques Le Marois (G1), with the winner receiving an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) through the international Breeders' Cup Challenge.
The Breeders' Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will be held for the first time at the Del Mar racetrack near San Diego, California, on November 3-4.
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders' Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for the Jacques Le Marois winner to start in the Mile at Del Mar. Breeders' Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by the Championships' pre-entry deadline of Oct. 23 to receive the rewards.
Prix Jacques Le Marois winners have made an indelible impact on the Breeders' Cup Mile, with such brilliant horses as Miesque, Spinning World, Goldikova (IRE) and Six Perfections (FR) winning both races in their respective careers.
Taareef, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget and ridden by Jean-Bernard Eyquem, comes into Sunday's race with three consecutive wins dating back to last October's Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein (G2). The chestnut son of Kitten's Joy, a winner six times in nine starts, returned to the races in June 18 and won the Prix Bertrand du Breuil Longines (G3) at Chantilly, and followed up that victory with a two-length win on July 16 in the one-mile Prix Messidor (G3) over Al Wukair at Maisons-Laffitte. Taareef was bred by in Kentucky by Dixiana Farms.
Al Wukair is one of three runners in this race trained by Andre Fabre, who has won the Prix Jacques Le Marois six times. Al Wukair has been victorious in three of his five career starts, including the seven-furlong Prix Djebel (G3) at Maisons-Laffitte on April 10 by one length. A bay son of Dream Ahead out of the Machiavellian mare Macheera (IRE), Al Wukair suffered his first career defeat when he finished third behind Churchill (IRE) and Barney Roy (GB) in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 6. Frankie Dettori has the mount.
Since he pulled up in distress shortly after the start of the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 6, Goldolphin's Thunder Snow (IRE) has had an accomplished European campaign in subsequent starts. The Saeed bin Suroor-trained 3-year-old son of Helmet (AUS) was second in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) to Churchill on May 27, and was third in the St. James's Palace (G1) on June 20, 1 ¼ lengths behind winner Barney Roy. Thunder Snow, who won the UAE Derby (G2) in March, returned to the winner's circle on July 9, when he won the one-mile Group 1 Prix Jean Prat by 1¼ lengths over the favored Trais Fluors (GB). Christophe Soumillon will ride.
Trais Fluors, also trained by Andre Fabre, lost for the first time in five starts when he finished second in the Prix Jean Prat. A 3-year-old son of Dansili (GB), Trais Fluors, ridden by Vincent Cheminaud, won the Group 3 Prix Paul de Moussac Longines at Chantilly on June 17
The third Fabre-trained runner, Inns of Court (IRE), has won four of five career starts for Godolphin. The 3-year-old bay son of Invincible Spirit (IRE) has captured consecutive Group 3 races at seven furlongs in the Prix de Palais Royal at Maison-Laffitte on June 3, and the Prix de la Porte Mailott on July 1 at Deauville. His lone defeat came in the Abu Dhabi Poule d'Essai des Poulains (G1) (French 2000 Guineas) on May 14, when he finished sixth, beaten 9¼ lengths over soft ground.
Freddy Head, who won the Prix Jacques Le Marois six times as a jockey and three times as a trainer, is saddling Wertheimer & Frere's 3-year-old filly Gold Luck (FR), who won the 1 1/8-mile Prix Vanteaux (G3) on April 9 at Chantilly, and was recently third behind Thunder Snow and Trais Fluors in the Prix Jean Prat. Gold Luck is a half sister to recent Hall of Fame inductee, Goldikova. Maxime Guyon has the riding assignment.
The Prix Jacques Le Marois is the seventh Breeders' Cup Challenge race to be run in the Mile Division this year. The first six Breeders' Cup Mile qualifiers are Legal Eagle (SAF), winner of the L'Oramins Queen's Plate (G1) at Kenilworth in South Africa; Somewhat, who captured the Doncaster Mile (G1) at Royal Randwick in Australia; Top Casablanca (CHI), who won the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) at Club Hipico in Santiago, Chile; Satono Aladdin (JPN), winner of the Yasunda Kinen (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse, Bal a Bali, who won the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park in California, and Here Comes When (IRE), winner of the Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1) at Glorious Goodwood.
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