sport

McCreery hoping for rain

Trainer Willie McCreery wants plenty of rain for Fiesolana as the game mare tries to win a first Group One in France on Sunday.

The five-year-old will form part of a strong travelling party from the United Kingdom and Ireland when she runs in the Prix Maurice de Gheest over six and a half furlongs at Deauville.

Fiesolana won the Group Two Challenge Stakes at Newmarket last autumn, but has yet to taste victory at the highest level.

She warmed up for Deauville with a brave effort at Royal Ascot, when fourth behind Integral in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

The Co Kildare handler said: "At the moment the intention is very much to run and you'd hope that trip would be ideal for her.

"They are saying the ground is good, but the more rain that falls, the better our chances.

"I was very proud of her at Royal Ascot. She ran an absolute blinder on that fast ground and over a trip (a mile) which tests her at Group One class.

"We are the second highest-rated horse at the weekend and Billy Lee will come over to ride her.

"He knows the horse very well, so that's another big plus."

French trainer Freddy Head will forever be synonymous with the Deauville showpiece after Marchand D'Or and Moonlight Cloud each won the race three times since 2006.

Head could this year saddle the Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Thawaany, a Group Three scorer over course and distance in June.

At the opposite end of the scale to McCreery, trainer George Margarson is praying for drying conditions for his stable star Lucky Kristale.

The three-year-old struck twice at Group Two level as a juvenile, but has failed to fire in either the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket or the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot so far this season.

Margarson is confident his filly's problems are behind her after a pleasing workout this morning in the hands of Tom Queally.

Margarson said: "Tom rode her in a piece of work with Excellent Guest and another older lead horse and we were very pleased.

"She seems to have come right back to herself. She's got over everything and she's 110 per cent, so we're just hoping the weather in France is kind to us.

"It's obviously going to be a tough race, taking on the older horses, but six and a half furlongs should be ideal for her. I think she'll definitely stay seven furlongs. Whether she stays a mile is debatable.

"Hopefully the ground doesn't go too soft, as there aren't too many other options for her. There's no point in going for a conditions race with three or four runners somewhere, as there would be no pace on and that would be against her.

"We're looking forward to getting her back on track."