It’s been a fascinating season so far for three year olds.
Dream Ahead looks like a sprinter from the top drawer after Saturday’s July Cup while Frankel looks capable of dominating the mile division. We await the Sussex Stakes and his meeting with Canford Cliffs before a definitive answer can be made here.
The view that these are a good crop is further illuminated when looking at the middle distance division. Pour Mio looked exceptional when going from last to first to win The Derby. That form has been considerably boosted through the Irish Derby and to a lesser extent the Royal Ascot win of Pisco Sour and Masked Marvel’s win at Newmarket on Friday.
Barring the St Ledger, Bastille Day brings with it the last time these horses contest within their own age group. This race was revamped, when the French restructured their Pattern Racing in 2005. An increase in distance to 1m4f and a new date on France’s biggest celebration day was to compliment the French Derby which was dropped to 1m2f in the new race program.
The Grand Prix De Paris is open to fillies but this renewal hasn’t any in the line up ,instead seven colts go to post. Three Irish and four French.
Aidan O’Brien sends Treasure Beach and Seville, the first and second from the Irish Derby while Reliable Man and Bubble Chic, the first and second from the French Derby’s take each other on. They are accompanied by a supporting cast of two Andre Fabre colts, Kreem and Meandre and another Aidan O’Brien colt in Marksmanship.
Jockey bookings are consistent in the case of the Irish colts with Colm O’Donoghue keeping the ride of Treasure Beach and Seamie Heffernan retaining the mount on Seville. That leaves Ryan Moore the steering job on Marksmanship. Put all together that’s some mix when you think that Monsieur Fabre has Pour Mio at home and its unlikely that Ryan Moore has been asked to go to Paris on pace making duty. Throw in that both the Fabre colts have won their last two starts and that Marksmanship has only run twice winning his maiden on his first start where he beat five subsequent winners and the race goes from being a Derby battle to something far more complex.
Bubble Chic provides the form clue. Beaten a 1 1/2 L by Pour Mio in the Prix Greffulhe he then went down a 3/4 L to Reliable Man at Chantilly. Treasure Beach was a head short off Pour Mio at the Epsom winning post and then 3/4 L too good for Seville at the Curragh. This places him ahead on form through the Pour Mio connection.
What about the other three? Kreem is a son of Huricane Run who won a Group 3 last time out while Meandre won in Listed company. Marksmanship contested the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot going off favourite. Inexperience cost him and a step up in trip and grade are interesting notes.
It should fall to Treasure Beach on known form but if there is an upset from the late developers Marksmanship may provide the right bullet.
In the Group 2 Prix Maurice De Nieuil on the undercard Mores Wells catches the eye. He was unlucky in the Canadian International last year when beaten a head by Joshua Tree and has since moved to Mikel Delzangles care.