France: Irish trainer Ado McGuinness will have a winter trip to the French Riviera this weekend when the second of three Fast-Track Qualifiers staged in France during the All-Weather Championships, the €52,000 Listed Prix Saonois (2.50pm GMT), takes places at Cagnes-sur-Mer on Saturday.
The mile Polytrack contest provides the winner with a free and guaranteed start in the £150,000 Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield Park on Finals Day, Good Friday, April 10.
McGuinness-trained Bowerman (Pierre Charles-Boudot) holds leading claims after two impressive victories on the all-weather at Dundalk this year. The lightly raced six-year-old defeated No Needs Never in a mile conditions race on January 10 and had no problem with the step up to an extended 10 furlongs when impressively landing a similar contest on January 30.
Formerly trained by Roger Varian, Bowerman’s record on the all-weather currently stands at five wins and a second from seven starts.
“Bowerman is in great form,” said McGuinness, who is based in Lusk, County Dublin. “I am on my way over today [Thursday], but he was stabled overnight in Lyon and had a little canter on the track this morning. Stephen [Mooney] my apprentice was riding him and said he feels great, so we are very hopeful that the journey won’t have taken too much out of him.
“On paper, it looks like he has a very good chance. He seems to be a different horse on the all-weather and his record shows that, although we did geld him at the end of last year and that has made a huge difference.
“I think his optimum distance going forward is going to be a mile. He proved he gets 10 furlongs the last day and the 10 furlongs around Lingfield would not be too testing, but I think a strongly run mile is his ideal trip.
“It is very exciting to have a horse like him in the yard. He was not overly expensive either [52,000gns] when we bought him in Newmarket last July and, even though he has had his problems, it was great to get him.”
Bowerman will face stiff competition from last year’s winner Volfango (Fabrice Vermeulen/Maxime Guyon).