An intriguing contest awaits spectators tomorrow as the Anjou-Loire Challenge completes this year’s Crystal Cup at Lion d’Angers with the longest race of the series at 7,300m (4m 4f). 12 runners will face the starter in an all-French field.

Patrice Quinton fields three in a bid to wrest the Trainers’ title from Josef Vana Jnr. Just 4 1/2 points separate them in pursuit of the €10,000 Trainers’ bonus, although the winning owner, Scuderia Aichner, looks unassailable.

Iquem d’Erable has been knocking on the door all winter during a busy campaign at Pau, but uncharacteristically fell last time out on this course a month ago.

12 year old Chez Pedro Ire is another filling the places these past few months over shorter races of a lower quality. He was a distant seventh at Craon in September when competing in Listed company.

7 year old mare Hello de Sivola comes here on the back of a threesome of third place finishes at Pau, then here last month in a race where he led until 3 out, in a race won by Forza Conti. Harry Brown and Hermine d’Allen were also in that race, so Hello de Sivola is at least held by the winner and Harry Brown on that form. Whilst Quinton is mob-handed, there are others with stronger credentials.

Elcond’or Forlonge represents Jean Planque and owner Philippe Noirot. He too comes here on the back of a string of runner-up berths, the most recent being a 2l second to Travel de Belair in the Fontainebleau leg of the Crystal Cup in late March. A repeat of that performance would put his bang there.

A repeat of his Lion d’Angers performance would also have Forza Conti among the favourites here, but his running before that victory could, at best, be described as inconsistent.

Hermine d’Allen was third in that Lion d’Angers contest won by Forza Conti, but his most impressive performance of the winter is a 3l third to Hemevoici in the Grand Cross de Lignières. He’s one of few in this field to have run over the longer trip, that race being 6,000m.

A more probable winner looks like the nine year old mare, Miss Laura, who comes here looking for her 6th consecutive win, after successes at Le Pertre, Ploermel, Segré, and twice at Saumur. Trainer Philippe Peltier knows what is required to win this race. Peltier fields Harry Brown as well, who may well be in the shake-up after his second to Forza Conti over the same course last month.

The field is headed by Eric Leray’s Ever Forget Me, a winner here last month, and coming here with a  credible record of winners at Durtal and Saumur since last November. he has the beating of Iquem d’Erable and Hawax on that form. Hawax was a faller here last month. Alexandre Orain takes the ride.

On that form, Espoir won’t be far away from Ever Forget Me, as the nine year old gelding was a 12l second to her at Durtal in March, but she’s also held by Miss Laura on Saumur running of a month ago.

Etoile de Pilori was a narrow second to Ever Forget Me at Lion d’Angers a month ago, and may be thereabouts too.