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Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere preview

Next up in @OwenAlsop 's assault on the undercard is the race three, the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

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The Prix Jean Luc-Lagardere

Run over seven furlongs and France’s oldest juvenile race, the Prix Jean Luc-Lagardere is another tasty entrĂ©e served up prior to the Arc on Sunday. The 2013 renewal sees a select field of eight go to post in a bid to claim a share of the €350,000 purse.

Following 2000 Guineas favourite, Kingman’s withdrawal earlier in the week, the market is now headed by the Niarchos family owned, Karakontie. A winner at Group 3 level on his most recent outing, Karakontie has arguably some of the strongest form in the book for this Group 1 contest. On debut, Karakontie brushed aside Ectot who hasn’t been beaten since and has scored readily at both Listed and Group 3 level in the meantime. Karakontie will not be deterred by the softer going and in time, I’m positive, will make a successful transition to the mile division. Stephane Pasquier takes the ride and is, in my opinion, on the one they all have to beat.

Christophe Soumillon has an interesting booking aboard Spanish raider Noozhoh Canarias who is venturing outside of his homeland for the second time. Unbeaten in three starts, Noozhoh Canarias booked his journey to Paris with an eased down victory in the Listed Criterium Du Bequet at La Teste De Buch last time out. The form of the Bequet has been franked since, but it is questionable whether Noozhoh Canarias is quite up to Group 1 level despite being at the top end of the markets. Never underestimate a Spanish challenge though, remember a certain Equiano?

Freddie Head saddles course and distance winner Charm Spirit with Olivier Peslier taking the ride. Stepping into black type company for the first time, Charm Spirit is clearly well regarded by connections and Freddie Head is not a man to take lightly. That said, question marks will need to be answered over handling of the ground and how much Charm Spirit will come on for her first two runs, having led home a small field of just four on her latest appearance. Charm Spirit has to prove himself up to this level and I will be watching him closely whilst keeping my money in my pocket.

Aidan O’Brien’s Wilshere Boulevard is one of the more exposed members of this field but has proved up to Group 2 and 3 level whilst being versatile on the ground. The step up in trip looks set to suit this son of Holy Roman Emperor who won this race himself, back in 2006. Ryan Moore on board is a big plus and I think the Ballydoyle entrant holds creditable claims to the Luc Lagardere whilst, possibly, being susceptible to some of his less exposed rivals. 6/1 is a fair price to be taking for Wilshere Boulevard to add another Jean Luc-Lagardere to the family mantle piece.

Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes team up with Barley Mow who is clearly well regarded having not, in my opinion, shown he is up to this level to date. A winner of an average maiden on debut, Barley Mow came up short in the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes on his most recent outing and has shaped as if the step up to a mile would suit him better. There is no doubt more improvement left in him, but I fear that it won’t be enough to give the Hannon’s back to back victories in this race after Olympic Glory’s win twelve months ago.

Franck Blondel’s mount, Baby Foot, will be suited by a return to seven furlongs after being held to a short neck by the promising Ectot last time out. A decent pace will also help Baby Foot’s challenge as he came from well off the pace to narrowly taste defeat at Deauville. Still unexposed but having shown the ability to handle extreme conditions, this exciting colt could prove to be a nice value price at around the 8/1 mark with further progression expected.

The two remaining colts in the field are two of the more experienced and both Al Muthana and Another Party have plenty to do as the markets suggest. Johnny Murtagh is an eye catching booking though, for Al Muthana whilst Another Party is a soft ground specialist, having never finished out of the front two in five races where the going is described as good to soft or worse. At 16/1 it could be worth taking an each way flier should the rain continue to fall in Paris.

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