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It is going to be hard to top the world class action we witnessed at Deauville last weekend. However, Sunday afternoon’s card at Chantilly boast three competitive Group races.
Two of the Group contests looks fairly simple to decipher on paper and I would be confident on hitting the back of the net in those.
I am looking forward to seeing how my third selection fares out too, its not obvious at first glance, but the trainer should know what he is doing!
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A sub-standard field for the biggest two-year-old race so far of the season in France, the Prix Robert Papin has only attracted six runners, one thing remains constant however – an overseas domination!
France have not won this race since 2013, with UK or Irish trainers taking the last EIGHT running and this year looks no different. Aiden O’Brien bucked the trend last week when Tenebrism landed Gr.1 honours at Deauville and the Ballydoyle maestro should claim this weekend’s feature with BLACKBEARD, for who he has acquired the services of ‘super sub’ jockey Ioritz Mendizabal (partnered St Mark’s Basilica here last season).
Narrowly defeated at The Curragh recently, the son of No Nay Never boasts the best form of the race and has a wealth of experience at this level. It is concerning that he wouldn’t quite put his head in front at The Curragh and if the ground was quicker that the forecast ‘Good’ on Sunday, then he could get found out again.
Belbek looks like one of the best juvenile’s in France, but strictly on performances recorded, I doubt that he has the measure of Blackbeard, although the Andre Fabre-trained colt is progressing with each run.
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A race often chosen as an afterthought for those who couldn’t or weren’t good enough to take part in the Classics earlier in the season, the Prix Chloe sees six ‘lost’ fillies go to post. Each of the six have questions to answer and it looks anyone’s race on paper.
MASCARET won on her debut in April, where she looked like an extremely talented filly and beat a big field relatively comfortably. However, since then, the wheels have truly fallen off and the daughter of Dubawi hasn’t gotten nearer than fifth on three subsequent starts.
It is interesting to see that Andre Fabre has chosen the Prix Chloe with Mascaret and the trainer has won this race for the last two years with very similar fillies. Perhaps she just needed some time since that debut win and like her mother, Daytona Bay, Mascaret may get her Gr.3 success in early July of her three-year-old campaign.
It is a shame there are not eight runners in the contest as Mascaret is a solid each-way punt. Nonetheless, I will be having a go and I do hope that on Sunday, we can see her back to the promise she showed on debut, especially in such an open affair.
Trainer Jean Claude Rouget is enjoying a stellar season so far and is rapidly closing in on the 100-winner mark. One of the highest-rated horses in the Deauville-based trainers yard, WALLY makes his return to action, having not been seen since finishing second in the Gr.1 Prix d’Ispahan in early May.
With only six (inferior) rivals, Wally should be able to sit behind the field and pounce late, as he normally does. Connections obviously feel that he is coming right into form at the moment as they have opted for the cheekpieces, rather than blinkers, which he wore last time out.
I wouldn’t be too worried that he hasn’t won yet this season, as he generally takes a few runs to get off the mark and does most of his winning in the summertime. I fully expect Wally to prove himself a level above the field on Sunday and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him follow-up at Deauville again in the coming weeks.
Jason Kiely’s Chantilly Tips:
13:33 PRIX ROBERT PAPIN – BLACKBEARD
14:50 PRIX CHLOE – MASCARET
15:25 PRIX MESSIDOR – WALLY
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