With Novellist ruled out with fever we’ve had to recalibrate our thoughts on Europe’s richest race, the centrepiece of a day of top class racing from Lonchamp with the entire seven race card holding Group 1 status.
It’s a day to saviour and enjoy.
After the draw 18 remain in but this may reduce the nearer we get to post time. Last night 8mm of rain fell on the track and with further rain forecast for Paris it’s possible the already soft ground may rule a few of these out.
This is a field as you’d expect deep in quality having between them already won 24 Group 1’s.
Novellist (4 G1’s) N\R
He’s only lost twice in ten starts, second to Pastorius in last years German Derby and fourth to Danedream in the Grosser Preis Von Baden last September. Unbeaten since he’s won five including a breath-taking performance when breaking the track record under Johnny Murtagh in the this year’s King George. Last time out in this year’s Grosser Preis Von Baden he wasn’t as impressive just doing enough to win. Soft conditions pose no threat to him as two of those G1’s including the Grand Prix De Saint Cloud this year have come on easy conditions.
Al Kazeem (3 G1’s)
Roger Charlton is making upbeat noises about his colt in the last few day’s. There wasn’t the same vibes from him in the lead up to the International or the Irish Champion Stakes which suggests he’s happier now about the issues he faced going into those two contests. He feels he has Al Kazeem back to the form which saw him take the Eclipse in July and the freshness is out of him. He’ll get his ideal ground for the first time this season but has to come from stall 18.
Joshua Tree (1 G1)
His best moment came in the Canadian International last year when beating Dandino. He hasn’t built on that however there was something of a return to form last time out when second at Deauville in the Prix Kergorlay.
Meandre (4 G1’s)
Different story for Meandre, a top class three year old for Andre Fabre winning the Grand Prix De Paris he was sold and transferred to Arslangirej Savujev who seems to be getting him back to his best. Third to Novellist in the race at Baden Baden he then went on and won the Preis Von Europa. First past the post he was disqualified for interference only to be rightfully reinstated on appeal this week. Connections rolled the dice in supplementing him but drawn 2 and with a preference for these conditions he’s got a chance.
Orfevre (5 G1’s)
It’s easy to see why he’ll go off favourite, the Japanese triple crown winner of 2011 threw away last years Arc in the last 100 yards when looking a certain winner. It hasn’t stopped connections having a second bite of the cherry and he looked ultra impressive in the Prix Foy oozing class winning with the minimum of fuss in very easy fashion. Those stung last year will find it hard to forgive and we should all be conscious that his quirkiness was not an isolated incident. It happened at Hanshin in March last year when he bolted ,looked as though he would have to be pulled up, only to then amazingly run on to be second. He’ll handle soft but if it turns heavy that smooth action might turn laboured.
Flintshire (1 G1)
One of those typical late three year old developers that Andre Fabre springs on us. He bypassed the early season classics staying under radar until the Grand Prix de Paris in July where he then justified favouritism. He was put away to target the Arc but he had a blip in the Prix Neil when he couldn’t justify the favourite’s tag trailing in fourth. Was it the ground?
Leading Light (1 G1)
His season has built nicely winning the Queen Vase at Royal Ascot then going straight to Doncaster where he was hammered in the ring prior to winning the Leger from Talent where as well as stamina he displayed real pace. Leger winners though face an uphill task trying to follow up 3 weeks later in Paris primarily due to the drop in distance. Camelot second at Doncaster went off favourite here last year and the exertions and drop in trip were to prove too much. The lads have supplemented him so you’d have to view him with some confidence. Will like cut and with Joseph ruled out (not allowed to do under 9 stone) Aidan has employed a very capable local in the shape of Gerald Mosse.
Kizuna (1 G1).
This years Japanese Derby winner beat Ruler Of The World a short head in the Prix Neil. He managed to cope well with the ground having never encountered anything worse than good previously. He’ll try to do what is father Deep Impact couldn’t in 2006.
Ruler Of The World (1 G1)
At Epsom he came out of the pack and picked them off with a sustained withering run. At the Curragh he was a shadow of the horse at Epsom. It could have been the ground, while he handled it good at Epsom at the Curragh it was good to firm with the latter word being more descriptive. The perception is he’ll like to get his toe in here.
Intello (1 G1)
Intello was very unlucky not have won the French 2000 Guineas in May but put it right in the French Derby the following month. In the Jacques Le Marois he ran third to Moonlight Cloud and Olympic Glory over a mile and won a G3 over 10 f as a prep for this. His jockey Olivier Peslier is strong on his chances hoping to equal the jockey’s record with a fifth win. Unlikely to like the ground.
Treve (2 G1’s)
Ultra impressive in winning the Prix Diane by 4 L from Chiquita (who franked the form in winning the Irish Oaks) she was put away for the Prix Vermeille. Two furlongs out she was sent about her business where she picked up to win readily. She’s looks a class and special filly in the mould of a Zarkava who travelled a similar path on route to winning the Arc in 2006.
Ocovango (0 G1’s)
Not out the mix, not only because he’s trained by Andre Fabre but because he was a serious talking horse at the start of the season and was his trainer’s choice for the Epsom Derby. It didn’t happen for him at Epsom or when behind Flintshire in July but he was only 3/4 L off Kizuna in the Prix Neil which says says he’s capable of causing an upset at a big price.
As ever it’s a cracker but this year there is a particular depth. Five individual classic winner’s.
A repeat performance of last year from Orfevre without the quirkiness wins it, a Prix Diane Treve wins it. A back to his best and improving Ruler Of The World wins it, Leading Light and Intello aren’t out of it either. If they go too quick early in deep ground an Eclipse Al Kazeem could steal it coming from that wide draw.
Our original choice was Novellist but unfortunately fever has ruled him out but with 17 still left in then luck in running will play it’s part. Drawn in 15 is the unbeaten Treve, even wider out is Al Kazeem. Neither may be get the luck they need. Drawn 5 and 6 is the Ballydoyle pair with Flintshire in 7 and Orfevre in 8. Considering the ground and the draw the best course of action is to back the Ballydole pair on the PMU (French Tote) where they’ll be coupled.
Remember to mark your docket PMU.
Recommendation : Ruler Of The World and Leading Light (PMU win)
Ocovango 33/1 e w
Watch the Prix Neil