Andre Fabre lines up Royal Ascot challengers
by Craig Jones for Knightsbridge Bloodstock
French trainer Andre Fabre has decided to send a small team to Royal Ascot this year, but despite only being small, his team is full of quality. It is likely the master trainer will send just three runners over to the UK for the Royal meeting, but all three have great chances of winning.
Leading his team will be Cloth Of Stars, a four year old colt who is three from three this season. He heads to Ascot to take his place in the Prince Of Wales Stakes and this will be the second time he has visited out shores after coming eighth in the Derby last season. After having his sights lowered by Andre Fabre this season, Cloth Of Stars has flourished and certainly deserves his place at the Royal meeting. On his first outing this season he won a group three, then he won a group two and last time out he landed the group one Prix Ganay.
Cloth Of Stars is a fascinating contender and after his great start to this season he should arrive at the Royal meeting in great form and full of confidence.
Cloth of Stars (foaled 6 April 2013) is an Irish-bred, French-trained Thoroughbred racehorse. He showed good ability as a two-year-old in 2015, winning the Prix des Chenes and being placed in both the Prix de Conde and the Criterium de Saint-Cloud. In the following spring he won the Prix La Force and the Prix Greffulhe before finishing eighth when strongly fancied for the 2016 Epsom Derby.
Bred in Ireland by Peter Anastasiou. He is from the third crop of foals sired by Sea The Stars who won the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2009. His other have included Taghrooda and Sea The Moon. Cloth of Stars’s dam Strawberry Fledge never raced, but was a granddaughter of the outstanding racemare Northern Trick whose other descendants have included Light Shift, Main Sequence and Dodging Bullets.
The second horse on Andre Fabre’s Ascot list is Le Brivido who will be taking aim at the Jersey Stakes. He is another fascinating contender who really could be anything. He won a maiden last year before winning a conditions race on his reappearance this season. Since then he came a respectable second after being thrown in at the deep end by running in the group one Poule d’Essai des Poulains. The form of that race has been franked because the winner Brametot has since won the valuable group one Prix Du Jockey Club.
I’m really interested in Le Brivido, not just for Ascot, but for the future. After just three runs he could still be improving and over the summer he really could turn out to be anything.
The final member of the team is likely to be Usherette, who will need to be supplemented for the Duke Of Cambridge. She won that race last season and looks likely to return to try and defend her crown. She has been to the UK three times and won two of those races so she will be fine with the travelling and has every chance of repeating her fantastic performance from a year ago.
As we edge closer to Royal Ascot, more and more horses are being confirmed and the meeting will no doubt be full of top quality animals. Royal Ascot is more than just a race meeting, it is a social event but having quality horses on show certainly helps the week stand out. The meeting has become a worldwide event and with Andre Fabre continuing to send horses to the meeting, the French will be well represented yet again.
It may only be a small team, but it is a strong team that Andre Fabre will be crossing the English channel with this year.
Craig Jones writes about global horse racing for Knightsbridge Bloodstock