The Epsom Derby is not the only major race this weekend, the French equivalent, the Prix Du Jockey Club, takes place at Chantilly on Sunday. Run over 10.5f, the Group 1 race has been dominated by French trainers, with Kevin Ryan the only visiting trainer to win the race in the last 10 years when he won the race in 2014 with The Grey Gatsby.
The all-conquering Aidan O’Brien sends Orderofthegarter into battle as his main hope as he bids to win his first French Derby. After a disappointing sixth place finish at Deuville in the French 2000 Guineas last month over 8f, Ballydoyle fans will be hoping the step up in trip along with the drying ground will bring about improvement in the 3yo. A key indicator to his chance on Sunday will be the performance of Cliffs of Moher, who runs in the English Derby on Saturday, after Orderofthegarter finished runner up behind him in a Leopardstown maiden in October.
Brametot, winner of the French 2000 Guineas, is a warm favourite to complete a big race double for his trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. A winner of 4 of his 5 career starts, Brametot will be very popular with the French punters. It took all of his ability to get his nose in front right on the line last month. A battling performance such as his 2000 Guineas win should galvanise him and a big performance is expected. The step up in trip should pose little problems and he gets his ground again so he is sure to go very close.
The Carlos Laffon-Parias trained Recoletos could be the fly in the ointment for supporters of Brametot. A winner of a Group 2 over 10f last month in Saint Cloud on soft ground, he is a worthy second favourite. The manner in which he disposed of his rivals in the final furlong in his last race was hugely impressive and he had the Andre Fabre trained Waldgeist in behind him that day. Waldgeist is currently more than double the price of Recoletos for this weekend’s race but it is doubtful he can improve the approximate four lengths required to beat Recoletos this time around. With just four runs so far, there looks to be more to come from Recoletos. With a high cruising speed and a very impressive turn of foot, he looks the value bet on Sunday. The one concern for backers of this horse is if he gets in to a head to head with the battle-hardened Brametot at the furlong pole but at that stage, he could be away and gone for home ahead of his rivals.
Aidan O’ Brien has four lining up with the aforementioned Orderofthegarter heading his battalion. Taj Mahal, Whitecliffsofdover War Decree make up the rest of the Ballydoyle runners, none of which look likely to land a blow.
Selection: Recoletos can improve on his Group 2 win and upset the favourite.
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