Royal-Oak appointment for Sky Hunter, Endless Time & Penglai Pavilion
Sky Hunter, Endless Time and Penglai Pavilion run in the final major staying prize of the 2016 European season, the G1 Prix Royal-Oak (16.25hrs local time), over just shy of two miles at Saint-Cloud, France, on Sunday, October 23.
Recent 10-furlong Goodwood Listed winner Sky Hunter (Saeed bin Suroor/Olivier Peslier) faded to finish down the field in last year’s G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup over two miles but the six-year-old has gained some notable victories over shorter distances.
He scored by nine lengths in a 12-furlong G3 contest at Newbury in 2014 and comfortably won the G2 Dubai City of Gold Sponsored by Emirates SkyCargo over the same distance at Meydan in 2015.
Endless Time (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) steps up significantly in distance after running very well when beaten a half-length by Left Hand in the G1 Qatar Prix Vermeille over a mile and a half at Chantilly on September 11.
The four-year-old filly failed to act on the good to firm ground in the 12-furlong G1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York in August but stayed on well for a smooth victory on soft going in the G2 Lancashire Oaks over the same distance at Haydock Park in July.
Penglai Pavilion (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) was the decisive winner of a valuable Newmarket handicap over two and a quarter miles on September 17 and the six-year-old showed a high level of form in France three years ago, including when fifth in the G1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Saeed bin Suroor said: "Sky Hunter won well at Goodwood and came out of the race in good order.
"We would like to see some rain for him, as soft ground will help him, and I don’t think that this distance will be a problem."
Charlie Appleby commented: "I was very pleased with Endless Time’s second in the Vermeille and the third that day has come out and won a G2 race since.
"We are looking forward to seeing how she gets on over this trip and the ground conditions should suit. She should stay the distance on breeding and has shaped like she will get it.
"Penglai Pavilion has come out of his victory at Newmarket in good form. Cut in the ground will suit him and, if he returns to the form of his younger days in France, then he would look very competitive.
"He has a lot to find on his current rating but he is a relentless galloper and conditions will suit."
The 15 runners for the Prix Royal-Oak also feature the 2015 winner Vazirabad and this year’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe fourth Siljan’s Saga.