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Secretariat Stakes Grade One
Although raced in Chicago the European challengers have done particularly well here historically with Aidan O’Brien winning three of the last ten, Dermot Weld and Alain de Royer Dupre the one each. Read on for our full race preview ahead of the Secretariat Stakes 2017.
IN SUMMARY: Tactics could yet play a big part in such a small field but the local form doesn’t look good enough in comparison to the European challengers and Mark Johnston’s PERMIAN looks the star of the show. His second to Shakeel is true Group One form and if he can repeat that here he may prove too good for the likes of Taj Mahal who could yet be the one to chase him home.
1 AFANDEM – Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget and owned by Al Shaqab Racing, the son of Zoffany won his first two starts at up to Listed class before a respectable second to Finche stepped up the Group Two Prix Eugene Adam over this trip at Maisons-Lafitte last time out. Open to any amount of improvement after just the three starts he seems sure to go well here under jockey Frankie Dettori and may well get involved in the finish. Trainers 10% strike rate with three winners from the last ten runners I acceptable but could be better.
2 SONIC BOOM – Won the Grade Three American Derby last time out by a length and three-quarters from Gorgeous Kitten who he meets on the same terms this afternoon and thus ought to confirm that form. Steps up a furlong which may well bring some added impetus but he does look to have a lot to find on that form and looks a touch short of the class usually needed for this particular race. Trainer Ian Wilkes is none from five in the last two weeks while jockey Julien Leparoux is none from six in the same period which fails to encourage.
3 PERMIAN – Owned by Godolphin now as of Thursday this week, and last seen finishing second Shakeel in the Group One Grand Prix de Paris at Saint-Cloud when beaten by a nose after a ding-dong battle with the pair pulling clear of third placed Venice Beach with some decent horses in behind. That looks top class form in the context of this race and if he has travelled well for Mark Johnston 918% strike rate and a 5 point level stakes profit), then he may well be the one they all have to beat – William Buick rides.
4 OSCAR PERFORMANCE – Appears to be the number on home challenger for trainer Brain Lynch after winning his last two starts at Belmont Park including the Grade One Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes early in July, and that is clearly the best American form on offer. Entitled to challenge on that run and won’t be far away, but the European form may be that little bit stronger.
5 GORGEOUS KITTEN – Finished a length and three quarters behind Sonic Boom here at Arlington last time out and has a bit to find at the same weights today. The added furlong may well see him get very close to bridging the gap but it looks too much to expect the son of Kitten’s Joy to come home in front today with an Allowance Stakes win at Keeneland his only recent victory.
6 TAJ MAHAL – Trained by Aidan O’Brien and to be ridden by Ryan Moore he clearly has a chance of some kind but needs to improve on his recent form even if he has been up against It in some of the better races. His last run in the Coral Eclipse can be ignored when he was used as stable pacemaker before finishing last of nine at Sandown and may be better judged on his sixth of nine to Capri in the Irish Derby when beaten over seven lengths. He may well be a lot better than the bare form figures suggest and won’t be far away here if he handles the much quicker ground.