Prix du Jockey Club hero Vadeni is firmly on course to take on the best of British in a mouthwatering renewal of the Coral-Eclipse on Saturday.
The Churchill colt is set to become trainer Jean-Claude Rouget’s first ever runner in the Sandown showpiece, having been supplemented on Monday at a cost of £50,000.
The race sponsors make the brilliant French Derby winner their 9-4 favourite ahead of Irish 2,000 Guineas scorer Native Trail at 7-2 and Prince of Wales’s Stakes runner-up Bay Bridge at 4-1.
Georges Rimaud, stud and racing manager to Vadeni’s owner the Aga Khan, issued an upbeat report on the three-year-old’s well-being on Tuesday.
He said: “Everything is fine. I was sent a message after the horse worked yesterday and all the lights are green.
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“He wasn’t asked very much, but he worked well in Deauville on the racecourse and as he’s in great form, he didn’t really need any more than what he did.
“The ground was what we call good in France and he had a very nice action, so we decided to go ahead and supplement him as we had planned.”
While respectful of the opposition, Rimaud is confident Vadeni has what it takes to become the first French-trained winner of the Eclipse since Javelot in 1960.
“It is exciting. We certainly liked his performance in the French Derby – he showed a very good turn of foot, which impressed us,” Rimaud added.
“Personally what he did in the Jockey Club did not surprise me much because I knew he was going to use that turn of foot. Jean-Claude always had great belief in him, we were pleased with the Jockey Club finish and we need to exploit this now.
“He’s not over-raced – he’s raced six times now – and going against the older horses is probably a task, but it’s an interesting one and we look forward to it.
“This is the only race really available to us over that distance in a Group One and with a good timing from the Prix du Jockey Club.
“I think he will travel very early on Friday morning, settle down and get on with the job on Saturday.
“It is going to be a challenge, but we’re ready to take it on.”
Unsurprisingly, Vadeni is prominent in ante-post lists for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October.
Rimaud is unconvinced he has the stamina to tackle a mile and a half at ParisLongchamp, however, and views the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September as a more suitable target at this stage.
He said: “We’ll be better informed on Saturday evening as to what he’s capable of doing for an autumn campaign.
“We don’t necessarily know or think that this horse is made for a mile and a half. He has a lot of speed and we wanted to stick to 2000 metres, or a little bit less with the Eclipse, so this was very much in our team’s mind.
“The performance he had in the French Derby certainly led us to think that he could handle Sandown and he could handle the eventual runners that are in it. Time will tell if that was a good idea.
“The Arc is a very different race and right now we are not certain this horse can stay that distance.
“Obviously things can change at the end of the year and it will be based on how he runs in these different races. The race we may envisage after this one could be the Irish Champion Stakes, but nothing is written in stone.”
Vadeni is the clear star of the team for Aga Khan Studs, which is celebrating its centenary this year.
Rimaud said: “You dream a lot of things in this business. You dream of Guineas and Derbys and the rest of it. We breed a lot of horses every year and we’re very happy to be able to bring a few to that level.
“It’s not easy, it takes a lot of commitment from the owner, and we certainly dream of it. I know His Highness is very pleased with it and it’s great to have a good year in the centenary year.”