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Prix Du Jockey Club preview

It's Derby weekend in Europe in case you hadn't noticed, and rather than focusing on the goat track that hosts the Investec Derby, I'll attack the French equivalent on a much fairer, flatter course at Chantilly. While the O'Brien stable seem to have their pecking order, it's difficult to line up the preferences of the local trainers. If you're not familiar with much of the French form, I've included replays for most of the major lead-up races.

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OLMEDO
Had dream run early in the Poulains then got caught up in the middle of the interference when the mad early pace suddenly stopped. Boxed in and caught flatfooted when the pace went on, it was a tough, grinding win in the end. Highly rated his whole career, and with a top jockey-trainer combination, he'll be well supported but in a big field, drawn the rail and at a tricky track like Chantilly, I wouldn't be rushing to take the current price on him. 5/1



AL ADAID (scr)
Won his maiden last start at Longchamp in a walking pace time. His conqueror in his previous start ran last in a G3 against Intellogent, who'll also go around here at big odds. Huge step up in class, Andre Fabre is a genius but this one is a long way short of a winning chance. 100/1.

DICE ROLL
Close-up third in the Poulains, when pushed through on the inside and was beaten in a bobbing finish. Bolted in to win the G3 Prix Djebel on a heavy track before that. Unraced at further than a mile, he didn't look to be stopping at Longchamp but there must an element of doubt on him at 2100m - his sire only ever ran over 6f (1200m). Drawn the carpark in 18 won't help his cause either. Will need Christophe Soumillon at his brilliant best to win from out there. 22/1



HEY GAMAN
Sat close up in the Poulains and missed all the interference midway. Fought off the leaders and was only beaten by the closing Olmedo on the line, no sign of weakening despite being his first attempt at the mile. Now steps up to 2100m and on breeding at least, should cope with that. Started big odds in the Poulains, will have more respect here and must be a decent chance. 16/1

INTELLOGENT
One of three from the Chappet stable in the Prix du Jockey Club. Secured victory on the line in the Prix de Guiche last time out, a G3 at Chantilly four weeks ago at a slightly shorter trip. Only the runner-up from that race has pressed on to this contest, looks to be a bit short of the class required. 33/1



PATASCOY
Southern-trained colt who just missed in the Prix du Guiche last start, his first time in a convergent formline with any of the field here. Stepped up significantly last time, would need further improvement of a similar size to be in the mix here, especially from the wide draw. 33/1

NATURALLY HIGH
Ran home nicely to win the G3 Prix du Suresnes last start and blitzed his rivals in his maiden the start before that (runner-up was five lengths closer to Al Adaid in his maiden win). Still looks immature, hasn't yet worked out the racing game but looks very talented. Appears to be the second string from the astute Pascal Bary stable but could be right in the finish. 12/1



NOT MINE
Ran well but couldn't hold off Naturally High in the Prix du Suresnes last start, in blinkers first time. Gets a cosy draw here in five and may just get all the favours. On raw class, I don't think he's quite there, but could be in the money with the right luck. 25/1

STUDY OF MAN
Very interesting runner by Deep Impact. Destroyed a small field at Saint-Cloud last start in the G2 Prix Greffulhe. That was his first sight of a dry track and was very impressive. The progeny of Deep Impact have been setting the world by storm, drawn perfectly, looks the one to beat. 9/2



LOUIS D'OR
Eased to the back in the Poulains and never got any closer. Started 40/1 that day, will be at least double that here. 100/1

STABLE GENIUS
Fresh colt on the scene, only made his debut in March. Finished third behind Naturally High and Not Mine in the Prix de Suresnes last time, and started shorter than both of them in the market. Ran a little greenly in the straight and had to be straightened near the post. At just his third start, he was still a bit raw and will benefit from that run. Finished just behind Study of Man in the Prix La Force before that. On jockey bookings, he's the stable third string but has drawn much better than Dice Roll and Intellogent. Worth a nibble at a huge price, and blinkers go on for the first time. 25/1



KEY VICTORY
Appleby and Buick head to Chantilly in search of the English-French Derby double. They'll attempt it with the least experienced colt in the field, but he is unbeaten and the stable is flying. Distance no problem, but racing in a big field on a fairly tight track might give him trouble. Drawn well, has to be in the mix. 7/1

FLAG OF HONOUR
Set a good gallop in the Chester Vase but ran out of puff over two furlongs further. Not at the top of the Ballydoyle rankings but strong reason to believe he can improve on last start. 28/1

HUNTING HORN
Just the single win from five starts but close up behind several runners in the Epsom equivalent. Lacked the acceleration in the straight at Chester, might be better suited stepping back in distance. No favours given from the draw, but has the talent to pull off a shock. 25/1

KENYA
Beaten a long way in both starts this season. Drawn well, if he suddenly returned to 2017 form he'd be in with a shot. But that's highly unlikely with Padraig Beggy aboard, automatic pacemaker duties. 200/1

BEAT GENERATION
Two-start donkey who should be a million to one. 5000/1

ROSTROPOVICH
Firstly, it's worth noting that Aidan O'Brien has started over 30 runners in this race - for the less than grand return of two placings. Stable whispers suggest this is the only Coolmore colt they thought could challenge Saxon Warrior, so they sent him to France instead. Bolted in in the Dee Stakes, over this same distance and is drawn to get a similar cuddled run. Finished a fair way behind Olmedo in the Fontainebleu recently, but never stretched out on the heavy track. Turn of foot shown at Chester makes him the one to beat if it's not too rain-affected. Starting from two gates outside Olmedo, Moore has the perfect opportunity to lock Demuro in the pocket - this might be more about jockeyship than the horse.  9/2



SUMMARY
Intriguing contest with no obvious favourite. Not convinced by Olmedo and want to bet around him. Study of Man looks highly talented but is well found in the market considering his inexperience. Rostropovich could just blow them away if he repeats his last win but this is a stronger field. Instead I'm going for two stable second- (or third-) strings in Naturally High and Stable Genius.

8 Naturally High
12 Stable Genius
18 Rostropovich




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