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A first win in Britain during Royal Ascot would be unreal – Reynier

A first win in Britain during Royal Ascot would be unreal – Reynier
A first win in Britain during Royal Ascot would be unreal – Reynier

Jerome Reynier is counting on his quality over quantity approach as he searches for a first UK success with Facteur Cheval and Darlinghurst at Royal Ascot.

The Marseille-based handler is also poised to saddle Zarakem in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, but it is the aforementioned duo who give the Frenchman most optimism of breaking his duck at the Royal meeting when they race on the opening day.

Facteur Cheval has been somewhat of a stable star for Reynier in recent years and having knocked on the door in a multitude of big events last season, finally got over the line at Group One level when landing the Dubai Turf at Meydan in March.

The form of that high-class event has been franked across the globe since, with Godolphin’s Measured Time the latest to give the race a timely boost, and connections of the Team Valor International-owned gelding head to the opening Queen Anne Stakes full of hope.

“He came back from the Dubai Turf in really good shape and I was really happy with him,” said Reynier.

“The form from Dubai is amazing. The second Namur ran a cracker when second in the Yasuda Kinen (in Japan) and the Godolphin horse who finished fourth (Measured Time) won a Grade One in America. Even the horse who finished eighth (Calif) won the La Coupe in ParisLongchamp and it was a very strong race.

“Maxime rode an amazing race (in Meydan) and I really liked the way he was galloping out after the winning post.

“He still had plenty of energy and maybe we could see him over a mile and a quarter in the future, but right now we had the choice between the Prince of Wales’s or the Queen Anne and we thought it would be good to stick to going one mile straight. You always need that little bit more stamina than just being a miler and I think it fits him well.”

Facteur Cheval is right towards the top of the market for the Queen Anne, with only John and Thady Gosden’s star mare Inspiral ahead of him in bookmakers’ lists.

Facteur Cheval and Maxime Guyon teamed up for big-race success in Dubai
Facteur Cheval and Maxime Guyon teamed up for big-race success in Dubai (PA)

It is a position Reynier is happy to be in as he backs his horse to prove he is one of the best around.

He continued “In Dubai no one cared about Facteur Cheval, he was an outsider and people thought the trip was too long and the ground was too quick for him.

“He never lets you down and always puts in maximum effort and if he was to win the Queen Anne then he would prove he is one of the best horses in the world on turf.”

Reynier also has high hopes for Darlinghurst as he takes his place in a red-hot edition of the St James’s Palace Stakes.

A winner of four of his six starts, he is unbeaten in four appearances since turning three and having seen off Prix du Jockey Club runner-up First Look in the Prix de Guiche, heads to Berkshire as short as 7-1 with some layers.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing this race, it is going to be very interesting with all three of the Guineas winners,” added Reynier. “It will be interesting to see who is the number one three-year-old colt in Europe.

“Darlinghurst has beaten First Look who was runner-up in the French Derby, his form is very good and we’re very happy with the horse. He is very easy to deal with and I know he will travel well and is in good shape.

“I think his main quality is his turn of foot and if he can follow a horse with his high cruising speed and Christophe (Soumillon) can show him a gap or bring him on the outside, then he has got one furlong (burst) really, really fast. If he can use his turn of foot in the closing stages then he will be finishing really well.”

Reynier, who started training in 2013 and has enjoyed big-race success with the likes of Skalleti, has so far resisted the temptation to move north to the training centres surrounding Paris, preferring to remain in the warmer climate he enjoys training his horses in southern France.

And while some may have felt the urge to expand, he has remained committed to keeping his string at a manageable level.

“We are going to try to win one of the races next week and it is a very competitive meeting, but I think we have the horses in good condition and can only hope for the best,” said Reynier.

“A first win in Britain during Royal Ascot would be unreal, so I just hope the horses travel safe ahead of D Day.

“Ascot is something I have been watching on TV for many years, I was lucky enough to run Royal Julius in the Prince of Wales’s six years ago.

“That was a good trip, I was driving the horse box myself and taking care of the horse myself and it was a great memory. This year I will only be going on the Tuesday and Wednesday and we are staying Monday until Thursday so we will be able to enjoy it.

“When we came over for the Sussex Stakes, we flew over, the horse ran and then we were dashing to catch our flight so I wasn’t really able to enjoy it and the same with the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, I wasn’t able to stay for the Champion Stakes as the flight was straight after the race.

“This time I’m sure we will make sure we will enjoy ourselves and I will be in the French tent in the car park having a good time.”

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