Over the last few weeks overseas runners have harvested the French Group One races, taking the Jockey Club, the Prix de Diane and just last weekend we seen Pinatubo land the Prix Jean Prat for a UK-trained 1,2,3.
This weekend it’s the much the same story for the Group One Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly where five of the eight declared are English trained, this is also where we find my NAP of the day… and he’s not English!
An extremely strong renewal of this race, but I can’t get away from the Andre Fabre-trained PERSIAN KING here, the leading hope for the home team.
The winner of last season’s French Guineas followed by a fine second in the French Derby having just been outbattled by Sottsass, Persian King’s three-year-old campaign was then unfortunately cut short by an injury.
The son of Kingman has recently returned to action and was beaten by stablemate Magny Cours at Chantilly when not asked too many questions and then went on to show a good turn of foot when winning on his second start of the year, taking a Group Two at Saint-Cloud three weeks ago.
Master trainer Fabre has openly said that the Ispahan has always been the target for Persian King and has deliberately left him ‘come ripe’ for this event. Regular jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot was also adamant after that Saint-Cloud win that next time out Persian King will be at his peak for the Prix d’Ispahan.
I am sure that if the versatile colt turns up here at 100% he will be incredibly tough to beat no matter which way he is ridden, especially at irregular distance of one mile and one furlong on the decent ground announced.
I was incredibly taken by ISLE OF WHITE’s debut over course and distance five weeks ago and her trainer Jean-Claude Rouget really has hit a purple patch recently, training six winners from his last nine winners.
The daughter of Siyouni was only beaten inside the final 50 yards on that debut run after having been both interfered with and running three-wide around the home turn.
She travelled incredibly powerfully up the home-straight before probably just paying for that lost ground and wasn’t asked for maximum effort by Demuro once headed to finish a strong second (as is so often the French style on debut).
I expect to see a completely different filly here and this looks the perfect opportunity to get off the mark for Isle Of White providing she breaks better than her debut effort.
I immediately put NO TINC POUR into the notebook when she landed her maiden on debut at Compiegne last season, although the filly then disappointed for the remainder of the season.
I am hoping those two subsequent poor efforts can be put down to either the Clement yard’s poor form in the second part of last season or the increase in distance being unsuitable at that stage of her career.
In any case, No Tinc Pour redeemed herself on her seasonal return when coming up a head too short in a Listed fillies race last month.
Having travelled three-wide for most of the 2,000m trip, No Tinc Pour sacrificed plenty of precious lengths to eventual winner and pacesetter that day Half Light – but showed a great attitude to close strongly close home.
That performance was worth at least four or five lengths more than the end result and with the Nicolas Clement yard back in red-hot form, she looks a great each-way bet for this open contest, although she will need to produce a career-best effort to win.
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