This is the best mile race we have seen for some considerable time. 6 runners, all Group 1 winners, over the mile at Paris Longchamp on Good ground. The small field should not detract from what is likely to be a spectacular race, with every horse likely to have it’s chance to deliver the goods.
At the head of the market is Pinatubo, who won in impressive fashion over 7 furlongs at Deauville in the Prix Jean Prat at the end of July. That was a career best, as he showed all the battling qualities needed to come through a classy field. His previous run, when 2nd to Palace Pier in the St James’ Palace stakes at Royal Ascot, now looks even better with Palace Pier winning the Jacques Le Marois so easily in August. Whilst Pinatubo is undoubtedly a Group 1 winning horse, his best form is over 7 furlongs, not a mile. Paris Longchamp is not the stiffest track, so he might get away with it here more than elsewhere, but every other rider in the race knows that there must be that doubt at this trip and so I think it is highly likely that this race will be strongly run. For that reason, as good as he is, I think Pinatubo is there to be taken on, especially at cramped odds.
This year’s Irish 2,000 Guineas winner is definitely worth his place in this field. In spite of meeting no end of trouble in the straight at the Curragh, his class showed as he was able to find racing room and come clear in the final furlong and a half. His only defeat was behind the now retired Mohaather in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, with Circus Maximus finishing just in front of him. There is no doubt that Siskin has the turn of foot to trouble Pinatubo, however, I also think he is shorter in the market than he should be. Given the way the race panned out at Goodwood, it can be argued that Siskin had the best run though the race and wasn’t able to take it. I also have sufficient doubts over the Irish 2,000 Guineas form to think he might find this race a step too far.
The solid option. Circus Maximus is the likely pace angle in the race, with his “tough as nails” approach to his races likely to make this a properly run race. It’s very hard to knock his form, with a superb battling display in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot backed up by solid runs behind Mohaather at Goodwood and Palace Pier at Deauville. Although he was eventually beaten 6 lengths by Palace Pier, the ground at Deauville was awful and I think the run can actually be upgraded. The current market has Circus Maximus about right I think at around 5/1.
He is the oldest horse in the race at 5 but having to give 4lbs to the 3-year-olds does not put me off and Romanised would be my pick for the race. Last year’s winner of the Prix Jacques Le Marois, Romanised has already produced a scintillating display to win the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh, when he beat the in form Lancaster House. On the face of it, Romanised has a lot to find after being beaten 11 lengths by Palace Pier, but as previously stated the ground was awful, which would never have suited. Given the fact that the Heavy ground was completely against him, Romanised travelled supremely well for the majority of the race before he tired on the run-in. This ground on Sunday will be much more to his liking and I think he is overlooked somewhat in the market. Romanised should be at his peak as a 5-year-old and his strong travelling style should be suited by the likely strong pace. I expect him to cope with this better than most and he should be travelling best of all as they turn in. With luck, this race could suit perfectly.
The winner of the French 2,000 Guineas, Victor Ludorum has perhaps fallen into the trap of the assumed step up in trip. His 3rd in the Prix Du Jockey Club can be forgiven, with the way the race panned out he really had no chance being held up in rear. However, more concerning is his run last time in the Prix Guillaume D’Ornano behind Mishriff. Andre Fabre’s charge was far too keen in the back straight and blew his brains before they had even begun to get properly racing. Whilst the step back to 1 mile is surely the right one, if he behaves that keenly against this field, which is much stronger, he will have no chance and I think on balance, he is easily opposed.
Last of the 6 is Persian King. The 2019 winner of the French 2,000 Guineas, I think it is fair to say at this point that he peaked in winning that race. There is no doubt that he is a Group 1 performer, as he showed when winning the prix D’Ispahan earlier this year. However, that race was run to suit and Stormy Antarctic (2nd) did little to advertise that form at Haydock. Persian King was another who was well beaten by Palace Pier and whilst the ground is a valid reason to put a line through the form, I suspect on balance, that he will be found wanting again in such a quality field.