04/01/2010 11:00PM

Gris de Gris eyes repeat at Saint-Cloud


Gris de Gris defends his title in the Group 3, $108,000 Prix Edmond Blanc going a mile at Saint-Cloud on Sunday when soft ground should play right into his hands. Seven of the eight lifetime victories recorded by Gris de Gris have come on soft or heavy going, with three of them coming at Saint-Cloud itself.

Gris de Gris, a son of Slickly trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre, was only a length second in his seasonal debut three weeks ago at Saint-Cloud in the listed, one-mile Prix Altipan to Skins Game, who was in receipt of seven pounds that day. On Sunday Skins Game will be getting just three pounds. Christophe Lemaire will ride Gris de Gris, while Christophe Soumillon will partner the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Skins Game.

The outcome of the Edmond Blanc depends very much on the readiness of Vertigineux. Trained by Carole Dufreche, Vertigineux has been sidelined since May 1, when he won the Group 2 Prix du Muguet over the Edmond Blanc course and distance by three-quarters of a length over Gris de Gris. A 6-year-old son of Nombre Premier, Vertigineux is 7 for 14 lifetime and likes soft ground every bit as much as his main rival. Regular rider Philippe Sogorb takes the reins.

German invader Liang Kay, a 5-year-old son of Dai Jin, was a listed winner going a mile at Cologne in his 2009 seasonal debut, but he is at his best going longer as group race victories at 1 3/8 miles at both three and four testify.

The Edmond Blanc winner is likely to take aim at this year's renewal of the Prix du Muguet on May 1, when he could run into Silver Frost, last year's French 2000 Guineas winner who has been brought out of a brief retirement for a 4-year-old campaign.