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Clement out to bump up total

Fri, 04 May 2012

French trainer Nicolas Clement is looking to improve his curious record in England when the Criterium International winner French Fifteen runs in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The colt, who will be ridden by Olivier Peslier, beat the other French raiders Abtaal and Hermival in the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte last month.

Although Clement saddled the classy Stormy River to finish second in the St James's Palace Stakes in 2006, his only win in the UK came on a less grander scale - in a Catterick bumper.

The French trainer said: "He is all ready to go and he worked nicely on Monday. I don't think he wants extremes of going - not too yielding and not too fast, but if it is just on the soft side of good that will be fine for him. We will see if handles the track. He has performed well on a straight course before, so hopefully he will do well.

"He has done really well since the Prix Djebel and I think he has improved a bit too, so I am very happy. He has experience and he has fitness, so it is very exciting. It would be fantastic for the owner, who sponsors the race. He bought the colt during the winter.

"I have not had many runners in Britain. Stormy River was second to Araafa in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. The only winner I have had in Britain was in a Catterick bumper! It would be fantastic to win the Guineas. If the horse finishes in the first four, I'll be happy."

John Gosden is under no illusions as to the task facing Fencing, who took a Listed race in fine style at Newbury in August but was left trailing behind Camelot in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

The handler said: "He was meant to run in the Craven, but he got a puncture in his foot which meant he was unable to run. That has put us on the back foot a little, but you need to get these horses out. Obviously, it is not ideal. He needs a race and you have to start the season somewhere.

"Realistically he needs to improve a good deal to turn the tables with the favourite from Doncaster and it wasn't the plan to come here without a run. He was well held at Doncaster, but he won't mind the ground."