What used to be know as the French Derby but less so now it has been reduced to just over a mile and a quarter, but still one of the most important races for three-year-olds in Europe and one that has been taken by horses of the calibre of Montjeu, Dalakhani, Law Man, New Bay, and Almanzor over the years,
With a cost of just six Euros to get in a full house is expected at Chantilly for the French Derby which looks as interesting as ever with recent rain turning the going softer than originally expected and adding stamina issues to some of the major contenders near the head of the betting including likely favourite Olmedo. With a question mark against the jolly it may be worth siding with the rapidly improving STUDY OF MAN who quickened up in the style of a very decent sort last time out and has been targetted at this race specifically. It is a wide-open contest on paper and Rostropovich looks a serious danger if he handles the surface leaving Olmedo as the option for third if all goes according to plan.
1 OLMEDO – Likely to be sent off favourite here after winning the Poule d’Essai (French 2000 Guineas) in the middle of last month by a neck, running on strongly. As trainer Jean-Claude Rouget looks to make it three wins in a row in this prestigious contest he looks to have an outstanding chance if he gets home though on breeding that is not a 100% certainty as a son of Declaration of War out of a Pivotal mare, especially on the deteriorating ground.
2 AL ADAID – NON-RUNNER.
3 DICE ROLL – Seemingly overpriced in the early markets and one to consider each way accordingly. Third to Olmedo and Hey Gaman but only beaten a neck at the line after being mugged close home by the first two. Steps up in trip today but his stable are in great form with a ridiculous 45% strike rate in the last two weeks and with good form on a softer surface he now comes in to the equation and could well turn that form around.
4 HEY GAMAN – Only beaten a neck when runner up to Olmedo in the 200 Guineas at Longchamp but bred to appreciate the step up in trip and looks likely to get involved in the finish. Winning form in Listed class on soft ground for James Tate when taking the Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury last August and should give James Doyle a decent ride.
5 INTELLOGENT – Two wins from just the four stats including the Group Three Prix de Guiche last month when he ran on well to score by a head over a furlong shorter than he faces here. Ought to handle this ground unlike some and will appreciate the trip, but this is a big step up in class and he will need to build considerably on past efforts.
6 PATASCOY – A head behind Intellogent here over a furlong shorter last month when fighting back close home after leading at the two pole. Clearly doesn’t mind a scrap but that form looks short of that needed for a race of this magnitude and no real reason why that form should be reversed.
7 PHARELL – NON-RUNNER.
8 NATURALLY HIGH – Put away for the winter after finishing a short neck runner up on his second race last season ad showed the benefit of a winter to mature with two wins from two starts this season. Scored by an easy six lengths over this sort of trip here on heavy ground in a maiden in April before taking the Listed Prix de Seresnes by a head at the end of the same month. Going the right way but needs to take another step up to get involved today.
9 NOT MINE – One win in the provinces when successful at Bordeaux Le Bouscat in November as a two-year-old and beaten in both races this season with a head second to Naturally High last time out in first time blinkers. Headgear remains and he should not be three times the price of his conqueror and with Olivier Peslier in the saddle he may well outrun his price.
10 STUDY OF MAN – Just the three runs for the son of sire of the moment Deep Impact with an eye-catching display last time out to take the Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud over this trip last month. Plenty riding in that race saw that as impressive and as he has winning form on heavy going and more improvement to come he looks a very serious contender here and could prove very hard to beat.
11 LOUIS D’OR – Three runs without a win this season and last of eleven at Longchamp in the 2000 Guineas when never really sighted, though to be fair he was eased when any chance had gone. His third to Wootton in the Group Three Prix de Fontainebleu was better but still leaves him with plenty to find in this field and as things stand he is very difficult to make any kind of case for.
12 STABLE GENIUS – Unraced as a juvenile the son of Siyouni made a successful debut here over slightly shorter and has finished third in both outings since at Longchamp, but behind both Naturally High and Not Mine last time out and he meets them both at the same weights today. A possible improvement to come but it appears Christophe Soumillon prefers Dice Roll.
13 KEY VICTORY – Godolphin were expected to rely on Woottton here but send this unbeaten son of Teofilo over the channel instead for trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick. Very hard to gauge after just the two runs with a length win over seven furlongs at Newmarket last season and a clever length and a quarter win at the same track over this trip on his return in May when looking as green as grass as well as being hampered. Sure to improve and could be anything.
14 FLAG OF HONOUR – One of four runners here for Aidan O’Brien and the mount of Wayne Lordan suggesting he is not the first string. Not disgraced when third to Young Rascal at Chester in the Chester Vase when perhaps finding the mile and a half plus a step too far and should do better here depending on the stable tactics. Possible pacemaker.
15 HUNTING HORN – Behind Young Rascal but ahead of Flag Of Honour at Chester when the mount of Ryan Moore and looking one paced close home. Another dropping in trip today which may not prove ideal but he will be up in the van early doors, making life difficult for the stalkers trying to attack from behind late on.
16 KENYA – The third Aidan O’Brien runner here and although a decent enough juvenile with two wins from three starts at up to seven furlongs, he is yet to repeat that this season with a thirteen length third at Leopardstown and a thirty-four-length last of seven in the Dee Stakes at Chester when helping to make the running. Possible pace setter again here and plenty to find on 2018 form.
17 BEAT GENERATION – Still a maiden after two starts but he did so some improvement when a three length third to Nocturnal Fox at Maisons-Laffite in a maiden over this trip in the middle of last month. Good luck to connections but on form alone he cannot possibly win this afternoon.
18 ROSTROPOVICH – Presumably the choice of jockey Ryan Moore and thus the Aidan O’Brien number one today. Only fourth to Wootton at Longchamp on his return in April (suggesting Godolpoin may know where they stand with him today), but far more impressive upped to this trip at Chester when taking the Listed Dee Stakes by a comfortable three and three-quarter lengths. Further improvement needed in this field but his stable continue in great form and with three stable companions to set the race up to suit, he should prove a serious rival to the selection today.