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Often a race that throws some up pointers for October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Sunday’s Group One Grand Prix de Saint Cloud boasts a mouth-watering field of eight top-class horses. I have also got my eye on one that I reckon will be difficult to beat in the feature.
The soft ground conditions have not discouraged too many from taking part and some nice-sized fields offer some interesting punting opportunities across the afternoon. My NAP has looked a bit special so far, and I am keeping the faith as he steps up to Group class.
I will be hoping to get the afternoon of to a good start by following recent winner DIVERGE as he steps up in class. The son of Frankel had been knocking on the door in some good races and got his act together in good style last time out. Although at the figures Diverge isn’t the best horse in the race, he did show plenty of ability for that success and I believe he could be a real player here.
A horse I have followed since he romped home on his debut at Nancy in March, CAPRICE DES DIEUX has continued to progress with every run and now is unbeaten for three lifetime starts. Trained in Chantilly by Nicolas Clement (who has had his string in excellent from throughout the season), Caprice Des Dieux steps up markedly in class here and encounters group two company for the first time.
Caprice Des Dieux’s latest success (over the same course and distance) was his hardest fought and he really proved that he is up to Group level. He will come on a lot for that race as he still looked a shade green. Nicolas Clement has managed Caprice Des Dieux’s career perfectly and for me, he is one of the most exciting horses on Sunday’s card.
His form may have dipped since winning a very similar event to this at the backend of last season, but ZILLIONE SUN showed definite signs of a resurgence last time out and returns to a distance she does well at. Another positive sign is that Zillione Sun’s trainer Patricia Butel has opted for a more established jockey in the shape of Vincent Cheminaud and if the pair can break well from stall five, then they should certainly be getting involved at the business end here.
Although there are 16 runners, only four kilos separate the top and bottom weights here. Zillione Sun is just a kilo above her last winning mark, and she has been given a chance by the handicapper – that could make the difference in such a tightly-knit race.
A horse that has featured a few times so far in this column, and the soft ground conditions mean that I can stick with Francis Graffard’s stable star IN SWOOP again this weekend. Second in last season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the son of Alderflug is the highest rated of the eight-strong field and should prove tough to beat in these conditions.
Not yet a domestic Group One winner (although he did win the German Derby), In Swoop has been in top form this season under new jockey Olivier Peslier and can notch up a hat-trick in the feature race of the weekend. He has not got a huge turn of foot, but there looks like that there will be plenty of pace on and the soft ground will certainly be an advantage.
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