Smullen expects big Almela run
Pat Smullen expects Almela to make her presence felt in the Prix de Royallieu at Chantilly on Saturday.
Pat Smullen: Rides Almela
A little over 24 hours before dual Derby hero Harzand bids for glory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the same team of Smullen, trainer Dermot Weld and owner-breeder the Aga Khan combine with a filly who impressed on her latest appearance in Listed company at Galway.
Prior to that facile victory, the daughter of Sea The Stars finished runner-up in the Ballyroan Stakes on her belated seasonal debut at Leopardstown in early August and Smullen sees her lack of racecourse activity this year as a positive ahead of her Paris assignment.
"She's improved. Whether she's improved enough I don't know, but she seems to be very well," the jockey told At The Races.
"The ground might be a bit on the quick side for her, but she has to take her chances at this time of year and we expect a big run.
"She goes there a fresh filly. You'd hope that would stand her in good stead between now and the end of the year."
The key action on Arc weekend commences with the Prix Chaudenay.
The home team for the one-mile-seven-furlong contest is headed by Andre Fabre's Doha Dream, while British hopes are carried by the Hughie Morrison-trained Marmelo.
The Duke Of Marmalade colt bolted up on his third start in a Doncaster maiden before finishing second in a Deauville Listed event last time.
Arthenus and Yorker fly the flag for the raiding party in the Prix Dollar.
James Fanshawe's Arthenus is an interesting contender having chased home leading Arc contender New Bay a couple of starts back, while South African import Yorker has run well enough on his first two starts for William Haggas at York and Sandown respectively to warrant a place in this company.
However, both may have their work cut out to stop the impeccably-bred Zarak, who chased home Irish Champion Stakes hero Almanzor twice earlier this year and performed creditably over a mile in the Prix du Moulin.
Alain de Royer-Dupre's charge lines up at Group Two level after being taken out of the Arc on Thursday.
The final Group-race on the eve of Europe's premier middle-distance contest is the Prix Daniel Wildenstein, in which Jim Bolger saddles the Godolphin-owned Moonlight Magic.