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Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) preview

The biggest domestic day of French racing with the running of the Prix du Jockey Club, referred to by the English-speaking world as the French Derby.

Taking the reins is Australian racecalling prodigy and international racing enthusiast Luke Humphreys, @WorldRacingLuke.

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Prix du Jockey Club
Chantilly 1545 local time, 1445 BST, 2345 AEST
G1, 2100m, €1.5m

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1 New Bay (5/1) (France):
Very nice horse who scored quite softly on his seasonal reappearance over a mile and then was a fantastic second, when having very little luck from an outside barrier, in the French 2000 Guineas. He stormed home in that race and out of all of the runners that ran in the that race, he looks the one to be suited the most stepping up to the 10 ½f of this race. Very good chance and looks hard to stop as he tries to give champions jumps jockey Vincent Cheminaud his first flat G1.

2 Karaktar (11/4) (France):
Looked like a world beater when winning his prep race in the G3 Prix Noailles when winning unextended by 3 ½ Lengths. The fourth-placed horse in that race, Sarrasin, has since come out and won a LR race very nicely last Sunday at Longchamp. This is his toughest test to date but looks quite smart and he’ll run out the trip.

3 War Dispatch (6/1) (France):
Only had the one defeat which was a second to Full Mast, G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner, on debut. Hasn’t been beaten since with his wins being in weaker company on the All-Weather but took a big step up in class, which was a successful one, when winning the G3 Prix de Guiche in very nice style. Again, this is his hardest test but he should get the trip and is in it.

4 Mostaneer (30/1) (France):
Won three of its four starts, including a LR victory last time, but this is a hard test. Up against it.

5 Cape Clear Island (12/1) (Ireland):
Very interesting runner for Aidan O’Brien. Very good second, when looking for further, in the G3 Sandown Classic Trial over 10f behind Master Apprentice and then stepped up to 11f in his French debut in the G2 Prix Hocquart when just reeled in in the last 100m by Ampere, who looks quite smart. He looks made for this race, and is the pick of Ryan Moore of the three Aidan O’Brien runners. Big show at nice odds as he tries to give Aidan O’Brien his first Prix du Jockey Club and Ryan Moore back-to-back. Australian breeding interest - he's by Fastnet Rock.

6 Highland Reel (10/1) (Ireland):
Looked like a star, although green, when winning the G2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last July. I declared him Aidan O’Brien’s next superstar on Twitter before the French 2000 Guineas over 1600m, where he started 11/8 favourite, but put in a mystifying performance in finishing sixth. Joseph O’Brien takes the ride but on his run in the French 2000 it doesn’t look like he’s crying out for further. He might be suited over this trip but I’m prepared to risk him today. Bred in the purple, a Galileo colt from a sister to multpiple Australian G1 winner Elvstroem.

7 Listan (150/1) (France):
Easy winner last start by six lengths at Tarbes but this is a huge class rise and it would be a huge shock.

8 Silverwave
(11/2) (France):
X Factor of the race clearly. Bit of a surprise victor in April in the G3 Prix la Force, over G1 winner Epicuris, which he won very easily, giving trainer Alain Couetil and jockey Adrien Fouassier their first Group success. Before that he’d won easily, against not much however, so the run to go on is his last start. Hasn’t had a run since his G3 victory however so fitness must be a query. But he’s certainly a very interesting contender.

9 Campione (100/1) (France):
Last of six behind Karaktar in the G3 Prix Noailles, last of seven behind War Dispatch in the G3 Prix de Guiche. Looks no chance of reversing the form.

10 War Envoy (40/1) (Ireland):
Very consistent and a globetrotter even though he’s only three as he’s raced in Ireland, UK, France and the US! Fair seventh in the French 2000 Guineas last time but doesn’t look like he’s crying out for this trip. Consistent but an outsider.

11 High Dynamite (35/1) (France):
Good second to Karaktar in the G3 Prix Noailles last time. Doubt he’ll reverse the form with him but he should be in the finish somewhere.

12 Kahouanne (66/1) (France):
Second to fellow competitor Mostaneer at LR level last time. Can’t see it coming anywhere.

13 Sumbal (9/1) (France):
Looks a pretty nice type that has won his three runs to date by a combined 13 ½ Lengths. The most impressive of those was last time when winning the main trial for this, the G2 Prix Greffulhe, unextended. It would’ve been interesting if Epicuris lined up in that so we could’ve seen how good this horse really is but he looks a very nice type anyhow. Hardest test to date but he looks up to it.

14 Piment Rouge (35/1) (France): Fourth to Silverwave in the G3 Prix La Force and 3rd to War Dispatch in the G3 Prix de Guiche. Don’t expect him to reverse the form with them.

It’s probably one of the more smaller fields for the Prix du Jockey Club (and that's not a bad thing considering every year there are complaints about interference) we’ve seen but certainly one of the most open. There are many chances. (1) New Bay screamed home for second in the French Guineas and looks like he’ll relish the extra 2 ½f of today’s contest. (5) Cape Clear Island is another that looks made for this race and I expect him to play a leading role, which international runners don’t usually do in this race most years outside of last year primarily. (2) Karaktar looks extremely smart but faces his toughest test and the exact same goes for (3) War Dispatch, (13) Sumbal and (8) Silverwave. (6) Highland Reel and (10) War Envoy are the other two Aidan O’Brien runners that were fair enough in the French 2000 but will need to lift along with (11) High Dynamite and (14) Piment Rouge also needing to lift.

Selections
(1) New Bay - (5) Cape Clear Island - (2) Karaktar - (3) War Dispatch - (13) Sumbal - (8) Silverwave - (6) Highland Reel - (10) War Envoy - (11) High Dynamite - (14) Piment Rouge

The Bet
Each-Way bet on (5) Cape Clear Island at juicy 12/1 odds.

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