This afternoon Chantilly will play host to the Prix Du Jockey Club, better known to English racegoers as the French Derby. This is more of a speed test than the other Western European equivalents courtesy of its reincarnation in 2005 as a 1m 2 1/2f contest.
This is my final day in Magaluf and finally we have seen some rain, so what better way to spend my final few hours, looking for another Classic result. When it comes to the big races I can always find an angle and substantiate my argument with an alternative thought process to many others in the industry.
I do not have time for ratings, all I am interested in are the key elements in terms of ground, trainer, distance, course, draw and best odds. Ratings can be too deceptive an evaluation of a horses performance with conditions so variable throughout the course of a season. With the added fact that plenty of horses develop at different speeds, anyone reliant on them will struggle to gain results in the very biggest races.
History has tended to suggest a draw 11 or lower is advantageous, complimented by an ability to race prominently. However in 2010 Loup De Vega shocked almost everyone when he blitzed out of stall 20 and gained a perfect early position, just being the pacesetter.
With a large field of 20 runners scheduled to line up this afternoon it is more likely once more than the eventual winner will be drawn well. Any runner that is drawn wide, will have to have some very strong form in the book and an ability to blast out of the starting gate and cross over in front of his rivals. A slow start should ruin any chance, that a horse drawn wide, may have had.
Saint Baudolino is the market springer this morning having been tipped up by the biggest ´tipster´ of them all. He is sired by Pivotal who has found past Group 1 winners over 10f+ courtesy of Chorist and Sariska. He is no value now, in what promises to be a competitive race, so I will be looking elsewhere.
There looks a distinct possibility in the market that the English raiders are being over bet and as a result, the French trained contingent invariably look of some value.
Two that perhaps strike out above all others are HARD DREAM and Sofast. Preference is given to the former who looks more capable, on first glance, over this distance and should improve on his most recent efforts. The selection is sired by Oasis Dream who has successfully helped to produce G1 winners previously over the distance with Midday and the lesser known Querari.
Hard Dream has only contested races in small fields, but looked an assured horse when winning a Group 2 most recently. With a fancied starting stall of 4 he should get the good early position that will be required and place himself to good effect, ready for a final charge to the line. The recent rainfall will be of no hindrance as the horse looks capable of further than the 1m 2 1/2f test in front of him here.
Sofast is also not one to be discounted and ran a very good race behind Saint Baudolino last time out. The assumption is that this trip may prove too far for this son of Rock Of Gibralter, due to the Dam side being represented by the sprinter Beautifix. However, further back on the Dam's lineage are a family of middle distance runners and as such there is a possibility that he could still improve upped to this trip. It is a wild shot, but at the current price of 25-1 he has to be considered a value possibility from stall 7.
Two small bets on Hard Dream (18-1 Betfair) and Sofast (25-1) look the call, but overall confidence is subdued due to the nature of this competitive line up. From a value angle, there are no better than these two in the field, at the current prices. Hopefully this approach brings about another fine result.