Back to Paris Longchamp this Sunday for the first of many extremely exciting Sunday cards this summer. This is like a trials day for the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix de Diane, with 2 key races for the Colts and Fillies over a mile. The Prix La Grotte (Fillies) features an intriguing clash between the unbeaten pair Mangoustine and Raclette, who Andre Fabre was quoted as saying was one of the most promising fillies that he had ever trained. Whilst the Prix de Fontainebleau (Colts) is another cracker, with Making Moovies taking on Ancient Rome and a few others. The likes of Persian King, Territories and Tamayuz have won this race in recent years and the 2022 renewal looks well above average.
From a betting point of view, neither of those races make too much appeal, but there are a couple of pattern races after these for the older horses, and there does look to be a couple of better opportunities there in the early markets.
Prix Noailles - 3YO Group 3 - 2100m - 4:00pm (UK)
Le Sicilian was 4th on his comeback (2nd start) at Saint-Cloud, he kept on well after being briefly outpaced but was not getting any closer in the last furlong, though I should add that this was a hot race for the grade. He will need to step up significantly to win this on the balance of his form, but after just 2 starts he is probably capable of significant improvement. Garachico won his maiden at Evreux, before running ok in Group company in the autumn, without ever really looking like winning. One paced at times, a rating of 46 looks a little harsh on what he has achieved. Maximus made all to win at Toulouse in a Class 2 event where he dictated the pace but kicked readily clear of a very decent field. It is not impossible to think he could run well at this level and if there is a horse to beat Junko, then he is probably the one. Cuncerto won a Toulouse maiden on his 3rd start where the front 2 came clear of the rest, but the time was only average and on form, he looks to have a lot to find. Whilst Master Gatsby won an AW maiden in January, but he was readily battered by Junko at Chantilly last time and there is no reason to believe that form would be reversed. Junko is the most likely winner, he is 2-2 for Andre Fabre and looks a class above this grade on the evidence of his 2 victories. He Should probably be Favourite to win this on the balance of his form, but the early markets have far too much between him and Maximus than I would like and for that reason, he would be my play here.
Maximus - 0.5pt WIN (7/2 Bet365)
Prix Lord Seymour - 4YO+ Listed - 2400m - 4:35pm (UK)
Baby Rider sets a very clear standard based on his 2021 form. Although outclassed in the Arc when last seen, this is a marked drop in grade, he won first time up at Saint-Cloud last season and has achieved the most of anything in this race in terms of winning form. Sweet Lady, the only filly in the race, was 4th in the French 1,000 last season and gradually improved throughout the season, winning the G3 Prix De Flore on her final start at Saint-Cloud in October. She is worth a try at this trip as her dam stayed this far and although she has work to do with Baby Rider, she is open to further improvement for the step up in trip and is no back number. Baratti represents Andre Fabre and will surely come on for his reappearance win at Chantilly on the All Weather, when he looked to be carrying a lot of condition but still managed to find enough to come with a winning run in the home straight. He has 4 wins from 6 starts and looks made for this trip.
Equinoxe has won 5 of his 10 starts and will generally run his race, though he has been found out in Pattern company in the past and will need to improve significantly on his Fontainebleau win last time if he is to feature here. Andre Fabre also runs Timour. He has only won once in his 9 starts, but has plenty of solid form at this level, including when 4th to Mutabahi in the Prix de la Porte de Madrid at Saint-Cloud. He is solid and stays well, but he doesn’t do anything in a hurry and the suspicion is that he will be outclassed here. The Czech raider Opasan won a Listed race at Vichy last summer before running twice with credit in Group company here. He’s a nice horse, but there are others in here with significantly more potential.
Probably the most difficult horse to assess is Mendocino. He got within a length of Alpinista in the G1 Grosser Press Von Bayern in Munich in November. On that bare form, he needs very serious consideration, especially as the French handicapper rates him 8lbs clear of the rest. On paper, Baratti is the most likely winner, but the market has just left the door open for Mendocino, who is probably underestimated because he has form away from the spotlight in Germany. If he can repeat the level of form that he showed when 2nd to Alpinista last time, he could well be capable of winning this.
Mendocino - 0.5pt WIN (7/1 Bet365)