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Prix de la Foret preview

Closing out the trio of fine previews from Owen Alsop is the Prix de la Foret. Follow him on @owenalsop to read more of his work.

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The Prix De La Foret

This year’s renewal of the Group 1 Prix De La Foret looks to be a quality renewal with several high class contenders in the field.

These are headed by the wonderful, multiple Group 1 winning mare, Moonlight Cloud. Unbeaten in three starts this term, having picked up two more Group 1 victories along the way, Moonlight Cloud is definitely the one to beat, and if she turns up in the rich vein of form she has been so far this season, then I cannot see her getting beaten. If favourite backing and taking short prices was my thing then I would be having a substantial bet at around the evens mark, but as it isn’t, I won’t be. She is a super mare and great for racing, I hope Moonlight Cloud wins on Sunday and wins well, from a racing point of view.

When it comes to finding alternatives to Moonlight Cloud, the first place to look would be last year’s Foret winner, Gordon Lord Byron, who showed he was as well as ever last time out when winning the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock. The step back up in trip shouldn’t be an issue for Johnny Murtagh’s mount and the extreme conditions will also be of preference and give the Irish raider his best chance of finding the two and a half lengths required to reverse the form with Moonlight Cloud from the Prix Maurice De Gheest. At 100/30 in the betting, Gordon Lord Byron is fancied to give Moonlight Cloud a closer run of things this time out, but that is short enough for me and I will look at exploring other avenues.

Anodin is a full brother to the great Goldikova, however, he has not yet looked likely to reach the giddy heights that his illustrious relation has already conquered. In three attempts at Group 1 level, Freddie Head’s colt has finished in the placings only once, and that was a distant third to Maxios in the Prix Du Moulin last time out. It is hard to make a case in this Group 1 for Anodin who is rapidly running out of chances to make a name for himself, despite winning the Group 3 Prix Paul De Moussac earlier this term.

French 2000 Guineas winner, Style Vendome, is another looking to get his season back on track here in the Foret. The drop back to seven furlongs is a big plus for anyone trying to make a case for Nicholas Clement’s charge who, since the Guineas, has looked lacklustre at this level. The form of the Poule Des Essai Des Poulains is still relatively strong, despite Style Vendome possibly being a rather fortunate victor and the race has produced a further two Group 1 winners in Intello and Havana Gold. Victory here in the Foret would prove that Style Vendome’s French Guineas win was no fluke. I am slightly surprised at the price on offer and feel that, back to seven furlongs, 20/1 is too big to ignore for an each way flutter on a Guineas winner.

Richard Fahey is attempting a raid with one time English Guineas fancy, Garswood, who has confirmed that seven furlongs, on rain softened ground are his ideal conditions. These conditions are virtually guaranteed on Sunday and Ryan Moore’s mount will have as good a chance as ever of proving up to this level, should Moonlight Cloud show any signs of weakness. The form of Garswood’s Group 2 Lennox Stakes win doesn’t necessarily hold up as the strongest, but the way he rattled home from of the pace last time out in the Sprint Cup would suggest he can make his presence felt here. Richard Fahey has spoken highly of Garswood and 12/1 is an attractive price for him to repay his trainer’s faith and exploit any chink in Moonlight Cloud’s armour should there be one.

My personal selection in the Prix De La Foret will be Eddie Lynham’s exciting filly; Viztoria. Similar to Garswood in the sense that seven furlongs and cut in the ground are her optimum, Viztoria possesses some real class I feel and I am expecting her to follow up her recent Group 2 victory with a bold showing here in the Foret. Wayne Lordan’s mount disposed of smart performer Gregorian and Godolphin’s Group 3 winner, Lockwood, with consummate ease last time out in the Park Stakes at Doncaster and that performance confirmed her early promise. The one blip in her short career came in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot where she still ran extremely well, on unsuitably quick ground, to finish sixth behind Sky Lantern. Eddie Lynham has been patient with his filly in waiting for the right races with the right conditions and I believe that his patience has a huge chance of being rewarded in the Prix De La Foret on Sunday. Taking down Moonlight Cloud will be no easy task, but this progressive young filly is the right type to do so. Available at 8/1 – Viztoria is my each-way bet of the weekend.

As for the remainder of the field, I am inclined, I’m afraid, to agree with the betting markets and would be extremely surprised to see any one of American Devil, Dux Scholar, Sommerabend, Blarney Stone, or Intense Pink prevail in what is a strong Group 1.

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