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Billy Loughnane relishing Classic chance in Paris

Billy Loughnane relishing Classic chance in Paris
Billy Loughnane relishing Classic chance in Paris

Billy Loughnane will be delving into the archives and studying previous footage ahead of his shot at Emirates Poule d’Essai des Pouliches glory aboard Chic Colombine.

The 18-year-old, who was last year’s champion apprentice, enjoyed one of his biggest days in the saddle aboard George Boughey’s filly when she stormed to an impressive six-length success in a Listed event in March.

That was Loughnane’s first ever ride in France and he will head to ParisLongchamp attempting to match the exploits of the one and only Lester Piggott, who was aged just 18 himself when tasting Classic success for the first time aboard Never Say Die in the 1954 Derby.

However, if the teenager is to join Piggott in the record books, he will have to overcome the widest draw of all in stall 14 aboard Chic Colombine, with Loughnane admitting he will be researching previous races and seeking inspiration from some of his weighing-room contemporaries to chart a winning path around the Bois de Boulogne.

“I can’t wait. She hasn’t been given the greatest of gates, but hopefully she can overcome that and we’ll see how we get on,” said Loughnane.

“I’ve been watching back and having a good look at some of the old races and the last 10 to 15 Guineas and what people do, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on what they do when drawn wide now as well.

“It’s a massive opportunity and she goes there in good shape. She’s going well at home and I just hope she can go and do the business.

“She won great at Saint-Cloud and I know I’ve only ridden her a few times, but she’s been a star for me really.

“William Buick won on her a few times last season and I’m fortunate that Charlie Appleby has one in there which puts him out of the equation – and I have to thank George and Highclere for keeping me on her.”

Boughey and owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing came close to Pouliches glory two years ago when their Newmarket heroine Cachet was denied by a head in her quest for a Guineas double.

They will now be hoping Chic Colombine can go one better, with the daughter of Seahenge reported to have thrived since her victorious early-season journey across the Channel.

Chic Colombine in action at Newcastle at two
Chic Colombine in action at Newcastle at two (Tim Goode/PA)

“She’s in great form and was an impressive winner last time in France on soft ground. She looks a picture and has definitely come on for that run, so she’s a really interesting filly,” said Highclere’s racing manager Harry Herbert.

Also making the trip from Newmarket to the French capital is Folgaria. Marco Botti’s unbeaten filly brings a truly international flavour to the contest and although trained in the UK, will be carrying the hopes of Italy in her heart.

An emotional winner of the Fred Darling on her first start for Botti, the form of that race was given a significant boost when the third Elmalka won the 1000 Guineas last weekend, and her trainer is confident he has made the correct call to send the mount of Hollie Doyle to the French capital.

Folgaria impressed at Newbury
Folgaria impressed at Newbury (PA)

Botti said: “She’s been drawn six – I was worried about a wide draw complicating things, but she has got a good draw.

“Hollie knows the filly well and this is another step up in class from Newbury, even with Roger Varian’s filly going on and winning the 1000 Guineas.

“The form is good and I still think a mile with a bend will suit her better than Newmarket and we think the track at Longchamp will suit her.

“We’re really happy with her, she did her final work at home on Tuesday and she looks ready to go. Hopefully it will all go to plan and she will have a decent chance.”

It has been over 20 years since Aidan O’Brien’s sole victory in the race and he is represented by Content, with Ryan Moore’s partner last seen finishing a close-up fourth over this trip at the Breeders’ Cup.

Strong Irish form is also brought into the race by Vespertilio, who was a star for Willie McCreery at two and finished 2023 by picking up a silver medal in the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes.

“You would like to be drawn in a few places, she’s 11 of 15, but she seems in great form,” said McCreery of his filly’s chances.

“We might get the ground we’re looking for and we’re happy with conditions. It’s going to be a tough ask, but I think she’s up to showing us her best.

Vespertilio has been a star for Willie McCreery
Vespertilio has been a star for Willie McCreery (Donall Farmer/PA)

“I hope the move up to a mile won’t be an issue and there are a lot of fillies doing the same in the race. It’s a tiny worry, but you have to be confident she will get it and Billy (Lee, jockey) will have to ride her like she is going to get it.

“If she’s trained on, which I think she has, then I think we can go there very happy.”

Romantic Style went straight to the top of the betting for this race when accounting for 1000 Guineas third and fourth Ramatuelle and Tamfana in the Prix Imprudence last month.

The daughter of Night Of Thunder stretches out to a mile for the first time as she bids to provide Charlie Appleby with his second Classic in the space of a week.

Appleby told the Godolphin website: “She has definitely come on for that run and we are hopeful that she can see out the mile, although being drawn in 14 will make things slightly harder.”

Godolphin will also be represented by Andre Fabre’s unbeaten Rock’n Swing, with Jean-Claude Rouget’s Louise Procter arguably best of the home contingent, having maintained her 100 per cent record at Chantilly on her return.

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