The news that the very smart Planteur will take his chance at Royal Ascot on June 20 in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes adds strength in depth to what is increasingly looking like a fine potential contest for the showcase 10 furlong event.
Along with his former French colleague Cirrus des Aigles, a close second to Golden Lilac in the Group 1 Prix d’Isaphan at Longchamp last month, and who finished half a length in front of the third placed Planteur, the presence of the impressive Dubai winner in April gives the French (and ex-French runners) a potentially strong hand.
Other possible Gallic challengers for the big race include the Alain de Royer-Dupre pair of Reliable Man and Giofra – both of whom will be looking to lower the colours of last year’s close second – and likely favourite among punters on Betfair So You Think, caught in the last stride 12 months ago by the ill-fated Godolphin-trained Rewilding.
Planteur, formerly trained by Ellie Lellouche, has maintained a high level of form over the last couple of seasons since finishing a fine second to Lope de Vega in the 2010 French Derby.
Following that result, he filled the same position behind the classy Bekhabad in the Grand Prix de Paris and the Prix Niel, before being disqualified from fifth place after a barging match in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Last term the Marco Botti-trained son of Danehill Dancer followed a Group 2 win in the Prix d’Harcourt by beating the fine filly Sarafina in the Group 1 Prix Ganay.
And, after a series of solid efforts, Planteur finished third to Monterosso in the Dubai World Cup on his first horse racing start for his current handler.
Botti reports himself very pleased with his horse’s condition ahead of the big race and is expecting his charge to give a very good account of himself.