THEY have already combined to produce one of the highlights of the Northern racing season – now Alpha Delphini and Mabs Cross will be attempting to pen some Gallic drama when they line up in the Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.

The Northern-trained duo were involved in a dramatic renewal of the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August, with Bryan Smart’s Alpha Delphini edging out Michael Dods’ Mabs Cross by a nose.

The pair will renew rivalries on French turf on Sunday, and while star sprinter Battaash might be a strong favourite despite flopping on the Knavesmire, the Northern raiders look to have every chance of stealing the spoils.

Alpha Delphini is a 20-1 shot despite his Nunthorpe heroics, and having been overlooked at York when he landed odds of 40-1, Smart feels his stable star is set to play the role of the ‘forgotten horse’ once again.

The Hambleton trainer claimed the Prix de l’Abbaye with Tangerine Trees seven years ago, and with Alpha Delphini a half-brother of his previous winner, Smart is hoping to complete a memorable familial double.

“Graham Lee rode him in a piece of work, and we’re all happy with him,” said Smart. “He’s in good order. Hopefully, he’ll run really well.

“It would be special if he could match his brother, but at least he’s going with a Group One under his belt. That’s the good thing, he’s already done it. If he could go and win the Abbaye like his brother did, it would be a fantastic feat.”

Dods also boasts previous experience of the Prix de l’Abbaye, with Mecca’s Angel having finished third in the race when it was staged at Chantilly two years ago.

Mabs Cross ran a blinder to finish second in the Nunthorpe, having previously beaten Alpha Delphini at Newmarket this season, and having been rested since her York heroics, Dods is hoping his still-improving four-year-old produces another big run.

“She just needed a bit of time after the Nunthorpe because it was a hard race, so we’ve just built her up again and she looks really well and is in good form,” said Dods. “It’s obviously going to be another tough race, but we’re really happy with her.”