Godolphin’s Persian King ran well to finish second in another French Classic, the G1 Prix du Jockey Club, over an extended 10 furlongs at Chantilly on Sunday.
The three-year-old Kingman colt raced a bit freely after emerging from an outside stall (14) among the 15 runners and was held up by Pierre-Charles Boudot in mid-division as a good pace was set up front.
The Andre Fabre-trained Persian King made smooth progress after turning into the straight to go second two furlongs out.
He ran on well and led after another half-furlong, but was headed by the winner Sottsass inside the final furlong.
Persian King kept on to the line, going down by two lengths, and finished two lengths ahead of the third Motamarris, with the rest of the runners spread out. The winning time of 2m 2.90s, a new course record, came on ground officially described as good.
The other Godolphin runner, Roman Candle, with Mickael Barzalona up, raced towards the rear on the inside, but stayed on to be fifth, another three and a quarter lengths behind Persian King.
Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin said: “Persian King ran a super race and was beaten by a colt with a better turn of foot.
“It is a hot afternoon and Persian King raced on the wide outside. Pierre-Charles thought Persian King saw out the trip, running on well to the line.
“So it was probably not a lack of stamina which led to defeat, but given Persian King’s wonderful record over shorter distances, it is not inconceivable that he will return to a mile.
“Andre will make that decision after seeing how Persian King comes out this race.
“Roman Candle ran very well. He was a bit caught for speed, but then ran on in the closing stages.
“His next race could be the Grand Prix de Paris (July 14, Longchamp).”
Godolphin’s Pinatubo put himself in the mix for an appearance at Royal Ascot when maintaining his unbeaten record in the Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes at Epsom.
Having made a winning debut at Wolverhampton earlier in the month, the Charlie Appleby-trained Shamardal colt backed that up in coming off a scorching pace set by Misty Grey to claim the six-furlong event.
Moving on inside the final furlong, the even-money favourite had more than enough in hand to keep the running-on Oh Purple Reign at bay by a length and a half.
Appleby said: “It was a pleasing performance. I said to James (Doyle) if you can hang on to their coat tails early doors I was confident he was going to come home strong.
“It was a little bit concerning when Mark’s (Johnston, Misty Grey) had gone off as quick as they had and got that extended lead, but once he came down the hill and James got him levelled out I was pretty confident he was going to do his best work towards the finish.
“As to whether he is a Coventry horse, let’s get him back and speak to Sheikh Mohammed, then let’s make a call on whether he joins the team. I wouldn’t rule it out, for sure.
“He is a horse that will take a bit of experience to the Coventry and a nice level of form to the table.”
Winner of a competitive handicap at York two weeks ago, Pinatubo led inside the final furlong and withstood the strong challenge of Marie’s Diamond by a neck.
Appleby added: “At this present time I am thinking about the Jersey at Royal Ascot. I don’t think we will be stepping him up in trip so the seven furlongs of the Jersey is probably the most logical thing to do at the moment.
“He’s a fun horse to have around – he travels and he’s got a gear change, which is nice to see.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Godolphin’s Persian King will face 14 rivals when he bids to complete a Classic double in the French Derby at Chantilly on Sunday.
The Kingman colt claimed his fifth successive win with a comprehensive success in the French 2000 Guineas three weeks ago and will be a hot favourite to follow up and provide trainer Andre Fabre with a fifth victory in the Prix du Jockey Club.
Fabre also saddles Roman Candle and Slalom.
Aidan O’Brien fields three runners as he bids to claim the prize for the first time, with Ryan Moore partnering Epsom Blue Riband Trial winner Cape Of Good Hope, Donnacha O’Brien on Mohawk and Seamie Heffernan booked for Blenheim Palace.
The three British raiders are Andrew Balding’s impressive Fairway Stakes winner Raise You, the John Gosden-trained Kick On and Roger Varian’s Surfman, who was a promising third in the Dante Stakes at York on his latest outing.
Other contenders include Alain de Royer-Dupre’s Zarkava colt Zarkallani, who turns out just a week after opening his account at ParisLongchamp, and Freddy Head’s unbeaten charge Motamarris.
Provided by Press Association Sport