After a big couple of days in Ireland and some proper champions, the focus turns to France where there is a huge card at Chantilly Sunday.
A Group 1 double header sees both the Prix Ganay (13:45) and the Prix Saint Alary (15:25) packed full of talent and it is here we find both my NAP and N/B on what is sure to be an exciting afternoons racing.
An excellent undercard also offers plenty of punting opportunities and I’m sure my dark horse will be one to follow throughout the season.
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Coming into this race with a 100% strike rate (3/3) there is plenty to love about the very talented TAWKEEL. The Jean Claude Rouget-trained filly showed she can battle hard when getting the better of Wangari in a driving finish at Deauville three weeks ago and the latter has since boosted that form with a listed win on Wednesday.
Tawkeel takes on six rivals as she attempts to take the step up to Group 1 level. A strong pace would suit and the step up to 2,000m for the first time is an obvious advantage for the daughter of Teofilo. Rouget has won this race three times in recent years and has always held Tawkeel in high regard.
She is a filly I have followed closely since I saw her win on debut at Pau in January and although this will be her first start on turf it shouldn’t be a problem. I will be incredibly disappointed if this lovely filly is beaten.
Possibly not the easiest race in which to be having a bet, as Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe third Sottsass is one of a five-strong field for the Prix Ganay – but I am going to stay faithful to WAY TO PARIS. The ultra-tough grey featured as a N/B in this column two weeks ago when getting the job done in a Group 2 up at Deauville.
Obviously this step back up to Group 1 company will prove more difficult and Way To Paris Has never finished closer than fifth at this level from three previous efforts, but I am confident that he could make it fourth time lucky for a number of reasons.
- Sottsass was visually unimpressive on his return and was held easily by Way To Paris that day.
- Although Shaman won by three quarters of a length at the end. Way To Paris was boxed in multiple times and may turn the result around.
- Pierre-Charles Boudot knows Way To Paris better now and that really told in his recent win with Marcialis yard in excellent form .
The seven-year-old deserves his day in the spotlight and this could be his best opportunity, I am hopeful of another big run.
Nine juveniles take the plunge into Listed class for the first time in the 5 furlong Prix La Fleche and seven of those having won last-time-out. The straight course at Chantilly was where NIGHT HUNTING made her impressive debut last month when landing a claimer by 6.5 lengths in a very fast time.
The filly bounced out of the stalls that day and led more or less all the way before being pushed out hands and heels to the finish. Plenty of winners have come out of the race and the form is looking particularly strong for a claimer.
She was claimed for €42,200 after that impressive performance and is now under the care of Chantilly trainer Nicolas Clement whose horses have been running well since the return to action. Obviously in a race of this nature there is no time to make a wrong move and judging from her debut run Night Hunting could be well ahead of some less precocious rivals – especially as she has the perfect draw in stall three.
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