Back to Cagnes-Sur-Mer for week 4 of the meeting and now the quality really starts to step up. There are a pair of key 3-year-old trials for the coming season on this card, with the Class 1 Prix Sky Lawyer at 11:30 and the Class 2 Prix de Vichy 35 minutes later. The Prix Sky Lawyer was won by Pretty Tiger in 2021, a horse who went on to finish 6th in the Prix du Jockey Club and 2nd in the Prix Guillaume D’ornano behind Dubai Honour in August. This years’ race looks like a very deep renewal and I will be very surprised if we don’t see several pattern class performers come out of this race in the weeks and months ahead. The main protagonists have all ran within the last 2-months, so there shouldn’t be any issues of race fitness and this looks to be the best 3-year-old race so far in 2022, though at the prices I think that I would prefer to take on the market.
3-year-old Colt trained by Fabrice Vermeulen
Invincible Spirit x Soie (Monsun)
The yard have been going well so far this season, with 14 winners from 93 runners so far in 2022 and SOLID SPIRIT looks to be one of their leading prospects for the campaign. He was a long term project as a juvenile and didn’t break his maiden tag until his 5th start, when he won a Nursery handicap at Marseille Borely in October. He comes from the family of US Grade 1 and Prix Jean Romanet winner Stacelita and since stepping up beyond the mile trip, he has found significant improvement, with form figures of 1,2,1 when racing beyond 1600 meters.
He won the Class 2 Prix Louis Gautier Vignal over this course and distance on the 19th of January last time, recording a 1.75 length victory over Night Endeavour who also lines up in this race. Having tracked the leader, he took up the running at the 2-furlong pole and had the race won when being eased down in the final 50 yards. Although a case could be made for Night Endeavour being slightly unlucky in the home straight, Solid Spirit readily kicked away from him in the straight and given that he was eased down, he was probably value for more than the winning distance, which would suggest that form is unlikely to be reversed. His main rival on Tuesday, Muntjac (JC Rouget) won a maiden over the same course and distance the day before. Visually he was very impressive, but they both ran similar races tracking the leader and yet Solid Spirit produced a time of 2:04.31, compared to the 2:06.90 recorded by Muntjac. Neither horse was fully extended on the run to the line, yet the early markets have several points between them and with a similar type of race looking likely, the value play looks to be with Solid Spirit.