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Prix Memorandum - Mister Chang


Mister Chang winning at Lion D'Angers

We have already had over a month of 2-year-old racing in France. Have we seen a superstar? Probably not yet. However, the opening race on today’s excellent Saint-Cloud card offers another chance for us to see one of the more promising types, Mister Chang. He was an impressive winner at Lion D’Angers last weekend and the fact that he is turned out again so quickly is fascinating. He is a big colt by Mehmas from the family of Salt Lake City (the horse trained by Rob Collet, not Aiden O’Brien). He has already proven that he will handle the softer conditions and once he hit the front at Lion D’Angers he was always in command, eventually going on to win by 4-lengths. He does have a penalty to carry for that success, but I’m not sure that the extra 1.5 kilos are going to enough to slow him down and the straight course here should actually play to his strengths.

 

When the markets opened, he was installed as the 5/4 favourite, and I think that looks very fair. However, it is worth looking at the horses he is up against to see if there is any value to take him on with. The only newcomer in the field, La Guapisima, does make some appeal on paper for Christopher Head. She is a filly by City Light and has several pattern performers in her immediate pedigree, although it must be said that most of the family’s best form has come over further and in some cases over hurdles. Unless there is sustained support on the PMU, she is probably a horse to watch for another day.

 

Gallius was a long way behind Mister Chang at Lion D’Angers and although he should be sharper for the benefit of his first run, he has a lot of work to do to reverse that form. That race was a flagged start, which is a small footnote that needs to be made, but having traveled nicely behind the pace, Gallius hung to his right around the final turn and finished his race very tamely. Similar comments would also apply to Docteur Safi who finished 6th at Lyon Parilly on her debut last month in the Prix du Premier Pas.

 

If there is a danger, it surely comes from the existing form that we have over course and distance with Bombonera and Herrenchiemsee. They both chased home the Amy Murphy trained Convo over this course and distance last month, but it should be noted that on the bottomless ground very few horses ever got involved in that contest. Bombonera was actually beaten just over 25-lengths and she is very hard to assess, but there are some claims to be made with Herrenchiemsee, who was the only horse to go with the winner that day. She has 20-lengths on Bombonera and looks to be the most likely danger to Mister Chang. She showed plenty of speed from the gate and having made straight for the stands side rail, which is the place to be on the deep ground at Saint-Cloud, she ran with great credit to finish 2nd in the Prix du Debut.

 

Based on the form that we have to assess, I would expect Herrenchiemsee to be in front after the first furlong and that can be half the battle in these attritional conditions. Is she good enough to hold off Mister Chang? I can’t be sure. He is the best 2-year-old winner that I have seen in France so far this season and if he does win here under a penalty, then the Listed Prix des Reves D’or at Vichy or the Prix la Fleche at Chantilly will surely be his next aims and he would need to win this under a penalty to stake his claims for that level. I have had a small stakes reverse forecast between the pair of them (1-5) because the race looks to be between them unless La Guapisima is very smart on debut. I’m hoping to see Mister Chang deliver another superb performance and whilst there are likely to be plenty of better horses in France who have yet to make their debuts, he is the best that I have seen, and he should be the standard setter for the early part of the campaign.

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