Tag Archives: French Racing

Lucien Barriere Grand Prix De Deuvillle (Group 2)

Cirrus Des Aigles try’s to get back to winning ways today for the first time this year. The world’s best gelding with a rating of 131 lbs hasn’t fired yet this year.  Recovering from ligament damage sustained in the winter he returned to the racecourse to run fifth behind Novellist beaten 4 1/2 L on his comeback run in the Grand Prix De Saint Cloud in June. He was again behind the same horse in the King George at Ascot in July where the deficit increased to 8 3/4 L. His trainer Corine Barande-Barbe then tried to rebuild his confidence dropping him in class in a Group 3 at Deauville in August where he still didn’t manage to get his head in front going down that margin to Petit Chevalier. His target remains the Champion Stakes in October but today will tell if that realistic.

He’s opposed by Nicolas Clement’s Now We Can a lightly raced four year old who is six from seven in racecourse starts. The best of these last time out in the Group 2 Grand Prix De Chantilly when he first steeped into pattern class at the beginning of June.

Andre Fabre has the Godolphin owned Penglai Pavilion who makes his first venture into group company. It’s quite a considerable step up on what he has done in the past but if his trainer thinks he’s ready then whose to argue.

Lady Cecil sends the only invader in the shape of First Mohican another whose lightly raced. The five year old son of Monsun is a winner of four from six having made a winning debut at Yarmouth in October 2010. He then didn’t see a racecourse for another two years but that didn’t stop him finding the winners enclosure at Redcar. He was a winner again first time out this year in May and in his only other run this year  here at Deauville he finished third in a Group 3.

Of the others Tres Blue is in the mix on the back of winning a Group 3 here at the beginning of the month as is Very Nice Name who ran third in the Sheema Classic in March in Dubai. That form was not reproduced last time out in the King George where he was 21 L off Novellist.

The main plot here is about Cirrus and whether he retains the abilities that saw him be the best around bar Frankel. While disappointing he didn’t win the last confidence booster it will be much more so if he fails to do it this time. Surely retirement will loom.  Hopefully that won’t be the case and what we’ll see today is a fully fit and completely recovered athlete who again come Champions Day will be ready to punch at the top of his game.

Recommendation : Cirrus Des Aigles 2/1 win

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Pre De L’Arc De Triomphe Group 1)

The excitement normally generated in the build up the Arc looked to be waning with the news that Snow Fairy and Nathaniel were both ruled out with injury. Add in Danedream’s absence (not allowed travel due to an outbreak of swamp fever at Cologne racecourse where she’s stabled) and we had lost three major fancies. It looked to be turning into a flat build up to say the least.

We knew on Monday Joseph wouldn’t be asked to do the weight of 8-11 if Camelot stood his ground we wondered if he runs then who? Bang, Aidan O’Brien confirms Camelot with Frankie on board. Wow. Excitement and intrigue were back on full throttle. At Leopardstown in the Irish Champion Stakes Frankie displayed he is still on top of his game giving Snow Fairy a wonderful ride. Ballydoyle like to use the best available and they’ve certainly got that. Unexpected yes but not unprecedented, the combo won the 2005 St Leger with Scorpion.

Camelot’s participation was in doubt but his work on Tuesday was good enough to send him to Paris. He must now emulate the feat of Alleged in 1977, beaten in the Leger he went on to win the first of his to Arc’s. There is no doubt Camelot is the star of the classic generation, a Guineas and two Derby are testament. He’s a fast ground horse. He hated the ground at Newmarket and the Curragh but class saw him through. He’s been asked to do it again now on Paris turf now described as heavy after the second race today. Pat Smullen called it dead after riding in it.

A win for Orfevre will push his earning close to the £10 m mark. That will be a nice bit of cash off 14 run’s. Bar the last one that’s all been won in his native homeland of Japan. He’s a winner eight times including five Group 1’s and a Japanese triple crown, all on fast ground with the exception of The Japanese Derby last year on soft. Tokyo’s soft and Paris heavy will be two different things. He showed his class in the Prix Foy (his first run since June) where off a slow pace he quickened nicely in the last five furlongs easily accounting for Meandre on G/S.

St Nicholas Abbey won’t love it either. You’ll have to go back to his maiden victory to find his last win on ground described as heavy. He will be suited by this trip, more so than the 10f in the Irish Champion Stakes and he’ll be given a patient ride to be wound up and come late.

You’d imagine the surface has also put paid to the chances of Shareta. She loved it here last year chasing home Danedream on the unseasonal firm ground and at York when beating The Fugue. She did win the Prix Vermeille on G/S but her hopes are surely gone on the dead.

Saonois won the Prix Neil from Bayrir. Maybe he was actually the best horse in the French Derby after all. He looked a fortunate winner on that occasion but this performance put’s him in the mix and if it is run slow and turns into a sprint he’ll be in with a shout. It could still be a good weekend for Lady Rothschild, Mince won at Ascot today, even without Nathaniel. Her filly Great Heavens has had a super season remaining unbeaten in five runs including last time out in the Irish Oaks. The soft ground will be very much in her favour. This will also apply to Sea Moon whose best performance came on G/S in last years Great Voltigeur when an 8 L winner.

Godolphin’s new kid on the block, Mickael Barzalona rides the Andre Fabre trained Masterstroke. He’s comes here in typical Fabre fashion, looking for his seventh Arc the master has built him gently through the season culminating with a G 2 in at Deauville. The softer the better for him.

The Japanese run a pacemaker in Aventino and Ballydoyle take no chances either running two, Robin Hood and Earnest Hemingway. The latter is intriguing, This will only be his third run, a very impressive maiden win on the Dundalk polytrack sent him off favourite for the Dante where he trailed in last. We haven’t seen him since May and he is also well drawn in stall 4 so if he takes it up when Robin Hood falls away and is given a soft lead it’s conceivable he may be hard to reel in.

If he is reeled in then it may well be a masterstroke to have Frankie Dettori on board Camelot where the class of both may get through the dead ground.

Recommendation :

Camelot 7/2 win & Earnest Hemingway 250/1 Ew

Prix Rothschild (Group 1)

Only five go to post yet it’s a classy fillies Group 1 event over a mile that kicks off the Deauville summer feast.

Two four year olds take on three three year olds.

The elder fillies Golden Lilac and Immortal Verse are both Group 1 winners already. In the case of the former Golden Lilac trained by Andre Fabre, top honours were gained last year in the Poule D’Essai Des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) and Prix Diane (French Oaks). She added the Prix D’Ispahan this year defeating Cirrus Des Aigles and Planteur.

Immortal Verse was also a dual Group 1 winner last year taking the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Prix Jacques Le Marois here at Deauville both over a mile. She further enhanced her reputation on a return to Ascot on Champions Day where she was a good third to Frankel and Excelebration. She then ran in the Mile Championship in Kyoto in November where the season and the travel caught up with her finishing seventh.

Of the three year olds Sagawarra and Elusive Kate both carry Group 1 credentials . The Aga Khan owned and Alain De Royer-Dupre trained filly won the Prix Saint-Alary at Lonchamp in May by a neck from Rjwa while John Gosden’s Elusive Kate captured the Prix Marcel Boussac from Fire Lily on Arc day. That means only one has not scored at the top table, Mashoora. The Jean Claud Rouget trained filly has won two Group 3’s and was second in the Prix Sandringham a Group 2 over a mile at Chantilly.

On balance then there’s not a lot between the field and their all capable of getting their noses in front.

Golden Lilac disappointed last time in the Falmouth when going off an odds on favourite. She never got in a blow and trailed in tenth behind Giofra with Elusive Kate, who was making her seasonal debut, running a cracker a 1/2 L behind in second. It’s probably best to forgive Golden Lilac the run at Newmarket as it was the only bad run of her career however it did leave one with the suspicion she finds the mile a bit on the sharp side now. That should open the door for Elusive Kate to confirm superiority gained in the Falmouth though the risk here is though she’ll come on for the run two weeks for recovery may not be enough. If that’s the case it might fall to Sagawarra who has the benefit of fitness and a six week rest however the mile may also prove too sharp.

That leaves the Robert Collet trained Immortal Verse, she is a genuine miler having put in four very good efforts at the distance last year.Though it will be difficult first time out she has the class to do it.

Recommendation Immortal Verse 5/1 win

Prix Ganay (Group 1)

The weather has played havoc in Europe over the last week and from a very promising list of hopefuls included at declaration stage the Ganay like the ground has cut up. We won’t get a clash between So You Think and Cirrus Des Aigles but at least we get the French gelding to the line. This will be his third run this season having already captured the Sheema Classic when defeating St Nicholas Abbey at Meyden by 3/4 L. The general view was the ride given by Olivier Peslier was the difference at the line. After that run this looks like a penalty kick and no doubt the Pari Mutual will reflect same. He can handle give and has no fitness concerns.

The difficulty is that the track may be deeper than give in the ground. When they raced there last Monday the ground looked bottomless and the penalty kick expected in the Prix Noailles didn’t happen when Hard Dream ran out a surprise winner. That might not matter to Cirrus Des Aigles as he has won at Deauville on very soft and heavy last year.

The main threat comes to him from Reliable Man. Unraced at two he had an excellent season last year winning four from six including the Prix Du Jockey Club and Prix Neil. In the latter he overturned the defeat he suffered when Meandre beat him 4 1/2 L in the Grand Prix De Paris turning the deficit into a 2 L margin of victory. He was considered a leading Arc fancy but as the week into the race drew in it became clear the ground was going to be firm his hopes and price drifted like a barge. In the end he was well beaten just managing to avoid last place. His win at Chantilly in the French Derby was on the soft so he will most likely be as adept at handling the ground as the gelding.

Alain De Royer-Dupre does not rely only on the Man as he also runs Giofra. The mare will only be having her fifth run today having won twice as a three old and impressively on her comeback in the Prix D’Harcourt when accounting for Vadamar by 3 L.

Christophe Soumillon rides the other mare in the race who although a winner of a conditions race at Saint Cloud is taking a considerable step up in class. Saga Dream is also stepping up having a first tilt in Group 1 company though he does have form at Group 2 level having been 7 L behind Giofra in the D’Harcourt.

The five year old Wigmore Hall hit the dartboard at Group 1 level in the Northern Dancer last year at Woodbine . It was a firm surface that saw him extend past Simmard by a neck. He’s a talent horse who has been internationally campaigned with the best and 4 1/2 L off Cirrus in the Singapore Airlines at Krangi will give connections hope . It’s just hard to see how he will handle the ground.

It’s been a week for missed penalty kicks with Messi and Ronaldo fluffing from the spot. The theme may continue here, Alain De Royer-Dupre and jockey Maxine Guyon can take advantage and get Giofra to score.