I’ve never been a huge fan of using a Horse Racing tracker, especially for betting purposes. Using such a system can sometimes lead to lazy form study or a blind decision as to whether or not a horse represents serious value. It doesn’t matter how well a horse has run, what time they have produced or what the form has proven to be worth if they are entered into a race where they are outclassed or unsuited by the conditions. For that reason, this is just the 2nd horse that I have added to my French tracker on this blog in the past 6-months. The first was St Donats, who made an impressive start to his career over hurdles for Hugo Merienne and has gone on to make his mark in graded company, so I think that selection was justified.
Prince de Paname is the 2nd horse that I am adding and if nothing else, I am putting him on the list because I find it very hard to believe he made a winning debut in the manner that he did. When updating my records, I always input the results, times and sectional figures before watching the replay. I find this helps me approach the race replay with a more open mind and gives me a better sense as to which horses, aside from the winner, that I should focus on. When looking at the 2-year-old maidens on the All-Weather track at Chantilly last Sunday, it looked as if the opening race, won by Adeliade in a time of 1:56.20 was the race to focus on. The 2nd division was run in a time of 2:02.70 and I fully expected it to be a typical French-style maiden, where there is no early pace and the winner stacks them up from the front before getting first run when it turns into a sprint. This was in fact, the complete opposite of how the race panned out and that is what makes this debut so exceptional.
Having settled in rear, Prince de Paname gave the leaders a 6-length start and although he looked to be travelling extremely strongly, the entire field were all on the bridle as they began to turn for home and he looked up against it as they straightened. However, once the button was pushed by Tony Piccone he showed an electric turn of foot to quicken through some narrow gaps and then sprint for home to record a neck victory over the more experienced pair of Mononof and Hamsiyann. The 2nd and 3rd are rated 40.5k and 39.5k respectively (81 and 79 in lbs) and both looked to have run their races, especially as they were able to race more prominently than the eventual winner. Prince de Paname ran the final 3-furlongs in 34.69s, easily the fastest closing sectionals on the card and a breakdown of that closing finish (12.60, 10.85 and 11.23) really demonstrates the electric speed that he possesses.
Trained by Carlos and Yann Lerner, he is a son of Pedro the Great (2012 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes winner), which is perhaps where his turn-of-foot comes from as his dam is a daughter of Rock of Gibraltar. She won 2 of her 29 career starts, though she never went beyond a mark of 25k (50) on the track. The Grand-dam, Pegase Hurry, reached a mark of 39.5 (79) and has produced 4 winning progeny, including the Amethyst Stakes winner Pretreville (Adrian McGuinness). It’s a nice family, though it doesn’t leap off the page as the potential source of a top class horse, so it is no surprise that he was sent off at 15/2 for his debut in the International markets.
After 1 start, he falls into the “could be anything” bracket, but I have looked back through the last 12-months worth of racing on the all-weather at Chantilly and I am struggling to find a horse who has managed to quicken from the rear like that in a slowly run race to win. A year ago, Elizar produced a similar performance to win an all-weather maiden at Chantilly and he has gone on to be a graded performer for Christophe Clement in the US. Whether Prince de Paname will prove to be that good remains to be seen, but it is the difficulty of the task he faced to win from that position on his debut which makes him of interest going forwards, as it takes a lot of ability and speed to be able to win a race in that manner.