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Victory important for Ikee as Satono Diamond prepares to dazzle in prep
10 Sep 2017 | Racingpost.com 


Qatar Prix Foy (Group 2) | 1m4f | 4yo+ | ATR/RUK

For European eyes at least this will be the first chance to really gauge the threat posed by Japanese challenger Satono Diamond, a dual Group 1 winner in his homeland, who will bid to give Japan the Arc victory they so desperately desire.

Starting with his nose defeat in the 2016 Derby (Tokyo Yushun), Satono Diamond has posted a Racing Post Rating of between 122 and 124 in all but one of his last six starts, every one of them in partnership with Sunday's jockey Christophe Lemaire. 

He has made a good impression in two recent spins alongside stablemate Satono Noblesse on Les Aigles, leading to some contraction in his Arc odds.

But a decent display against established rivals Cloth Of Stars and Silverwave would almost certainly see the last of the double figure prices disappear.

His trainer Yasutoshi Ikee – who twice saddled Orfevre to finish runner up in the Arc – has resisted the temptation to show him the neighbouring racecourse, preferring the Prix Foy to serve as a rehearsal for the Arc in every way possible. 

"Of course I wanted to run Satono Diamond over the same course and distance at Chantilly before the Arc," said Ikee.

"But we're representing Japan on Sunday as well and so the result in the Prix Foy will also be important.

"I can’t tell you which of those two factors is more important, as I want him to gain experience and to put in a good performance. That adds pressure I suppose."

Satono Diamond has no racing experience on soft ground but Ikee is not unduly concerned by the prospect, while he sees the Arc's temporary transfer to Chantilly during the rebuilding work at Longchamp a potential bonus. 

 

Ikee said: "The race times between Chantilly and Longchamp are quite different and I think Chantilly might favour the Japanese horses in terms of winning the Arc.

"Satono Diamond can sit in behind or make the running depending on how fast they go and that flexibility will be an advantage at a track like Chantilly."

The 48-year-old has stressed that seven-year-old Satono Noblesse is in France primarily as a travelling and work companion to Satono Diamond, though he added "he could act as pacemaker if need be, though that wasn't the primary aim in bringing him over."

As in the Prix Niel it is Andre Fabre who provides the most established opposition in the shape of Cloth Of Stars, who has not been seen since narrowly defeating Zarak in the Prix Ganay.

 

"He's fine and runs well fresh," said Fabre. "I deliberately missed the summer with a view to an autumn campaign. The soft ground should help him and although he might need it, that's why you run in a prep race."

Fellow Godolphin horse Talismanic won over a mile and six furlongs on quick ground at Saint-Cloud in July but has proven form on a much easier surface.

Fabre said: "He had a setback which meant he couldn’t go to Saratoga [for the Sword Dancer]. He'll be running on his own merits and not as a lead horse. We'll have the same problem as in the Prix Niel, who is going to make the running? It won't be mine!"

Dschingis Secret represents the German Derby-winning stable of Markus Klug, and the form of his last two wins – over subsequent Grosser Preis von Baden hero Iquitos and most recently defeating Hawkbill in Berlin – puts him within 1lb of both Cloth Of Stars and Silverwave, but he still has ground to make up on Satono Diamond. 

Silverwave won this race 12 months ago and showed himself to still be in good nick when chasing home Zarak in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

 
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