Frankel colts clash in France

Frankuus and Cunco will bid to give Frankel his first top-level success as a stallion in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud on Sunday.

Cunco (l) bids to provide his sire with a first Group One win

Having claimed victory when upped to nine furlongs on his last start in a Group Three at Chantilly earlier this month, connections of the Mark Johnston-trained Frankuus are confident this longer trip of a mile and a quarter will aid his chances of victory.

Charlie Johnston, son and assistant of the Middleham handler, said: "We left him in the Racing Post Trophy at the five-day stage and we were going to have a look at that if that really cut up, but France was the primary target.

"We think he is a real strong stayer for his age and the mile and a quarter will really play to his strengths.

"He is versatile regarding ground but he showed at Haydock that he handles really soft ground so we are hopeful of a big run.

"It's a race we've had in mind for a couple of months and he did a piece of work on Saturday morning ready for it.

"We know at Haydock and over at Chantilly last time out he was doing all his best work late on in both races."

Cunco, trained by John Gosden, made a big splash on his debut at Newbury, but he has not won in five subsequent outings and finished third behind Frankuus at Haydock in September.

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Aidan O'Brien has four runners in the race, including leading Derby contender Capri, who missed an engagement in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last Saturday.

Taj Mahal, Wings Of Eagles and Douglas Macarthur also represent Ballydoyle.

There is further British interest in the race in the form of the Godolphin-owned pair of D'Bai (Charlie Appleby) and Best Solution (Saeed bin Suroor), while Rich Legacy represents the yard of Ralph Beckett.

Gowran winner Rekindling has also been declared by David Wachman, who is retiring at the end of the season.

Andrew Balding feels a return to a softer surface on a flatter track can help South Seas resume his progression in the Criterium International.

After winning his first three starts, the son of Lope De Vega came unstuck when finishing sixth in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

Balding said: "He ran a little bit below expectations in the Dewhurst but has come out of the race well.

"It is going to be slow ground in France and we know he handles that and the track will be more suitable for him.

"He lost his balance going into the dip at Newmarket, but it was the strongest two-year-old race of the year and he just fell short.

"There is always a question mark about running them quick in another Group One but it didn't do Rivet any harm in the Racing Post Trophy."

The Appleby-trained Bay Of Poets takes a drop in trip, having contested the Racing Post Trophy last Saturday.

Fellow Godolphin runner Thunder Snow, trained by Bin Suroor, will be out to confirm Dewhurst form with South Seas, having finished fourth at Newmarket.

O'Brien, who was successful 12 months ago with Johannes Vermeer, will be represented by Marcel Boussac runner-up Promise To Be True.

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