Race of the Day - 11th May
Prix De Nanterre
The French Guineas meeting is just a few days away, but before we get to the first French Classics of the season, we have a twilight card at Paris Longchamp this Thursday. One of the best parts of the French Flat season is the series of Thursday evening cards held at Longchamp through the summer months and whilst Sunday’s card is more interesting to some, this makes more appeal to me. There is some logic to that stance, as Sunday’s card will be filled with horses from the UK and Ireland and so that makes it much harder to equate the form of the various contenders. The close proximity of the Guineas meeting means that we are unlikely to see too many high-class horses on Thursday evening, but I have found a decent 3-year-old contest to get stuck into. The Prix de Nanterre is a Class 2 contest over 2,000 metres for 3-year-olds who have not won a Listed race since August 2022 and who have not placed in Listed company or won in Class 2 company or above this year. We only have 5 runners going to post and given that Castle Creek has finished 14th and 10thin a pair of Strasbourg maidens, he already looks booked for 5th place and the €1,400 prize that yields. It’s good placement but he is unlikely to feature and that leaves the race looking like a match between the unexposed and the established pairs. this race gets underway at 6:10pm (UK Time).
The Established Horses
The most exposed horse in the field is Taybet, who has had 5 starts and achieved an official rating of 40-kilos. Trained by Mikel Delzangles, he had a busy campaign on the PSF over the winter and got a deserved win on his 4th start in a maiden at Compiegne in March when he stepped on to the turf for the first time. That win came over a mile and the drop back to 7-furlongs at Saint-Cloud last time clearly didn’t work as he was readily outpaced before keeping on. His Dam is a half-sister to the 2004 Prix du Jockey Club winner Blue Canari, a winner in the days when the race was over a mile and a half, so it is not a surprise to see that Taybet is now stepped up in trip. This trip should suit, but in a small field with no obvious pace angle, he is probably going to have to make the running to turn it into the stamina test that he needs and unless he gets loose on the front end, which seems unlikely, it is not hard to make the case that he lacks the turn-of-foot needed to win a race like this.
Rated 41-kilos, Not Alone comes out slightly better at the weights with Taybet and if he can match the level of form that he showed at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in the winter, he is definitely a player in this field. A maiden winner on his 2nd start in January, when he beat Back to Black by a length, he was considered good enough to run in the Prix Policeman on his next start and his 3rd placed finish in that race is the strongest form on offer in that field. That race was run at a stop/start gallop and he probably hit the front too soon in the home straight and was picked off late on by Duc of Kent and Al Barq, who are stronger stayers. This was still and excellent run and this small field should play into his hands, but the issue with the horse is his most recent run at Saint-Cloud. He was stepped up into Listed company in the Prix Francois Mathet, but having travelled well enough behind the leaders, he was quickly beaten when asked for his effort in the home straight and coasted home last of 8, beaten 26-lengths. Perhaps we can put this down to him being outclassed and after 4 starts it is too soon to write him off, but with his best form coming on the PSF at Cagnes, he would need to show that he can match that form on turf before he could be considered a horse of interest. He may well bounce back, but there are more questions than answers after the Saint-Cloud run.
The Unexposed Horses
The other angle into this race comes from the pair of maiden winners, Broadfield and High Record, who won maidens at Chateuabriant and Senonnes respectively last month. I’ll start with Broadfield, who built on a promising debut at Saint-Cloud in March to land the odds on his 2nd start 3-weeks ago. He is by Almanzor, out of a Frankel mare who is a half-sister to Group 1 winners Timepiece and Passage of Time. He was well fancied on debut and although he was no match for the impressive winner Silver Crack, he was best of the rest. Silver Crack had the misfortune of bumping into Feed the Flame on his next start, but he still ran well enough to suggest that the form can be trusted and the fifth placed Wukhann won on his next start to give that maiden a boost. Juddmonte won’t have too many runners at Chateuabriant, but Broadfield was found a good opportunity by Francis-Henri Graffard, and he duly obliged, tracking the leader before coming clear under a hands ride in the closing stages. The placed horses brought a solid level of form into the race, and he was slightly quicker on the clock than the Fillies maiden won by Andre Fabre’s Philaminte over the same course and distance, so there is some substance to the form. It is hard to put a figure on what he has achieved so far, but he did look to improve on his 2nd start and if Taybet and Not Alone are 40-rated, then he is too.
The final horse to look at is High Record. The Brasme yard have trained a couple of winners from this family and although the Senonnes maiden he won 4-weeks ago wasn’t particularly deep, it was hard not to be impressed by the way he won. Having sat in mid-division, he was 7-lengths behind the leaders as they turned in, but he came with a sustained run in the home straight to win going away. The time was slower than the Class 3 handicap over the same course and distance and the placed horses have been beaten since, although the fourth placed Deauville did win an Argentan handicap last week on a mark of 32. Holes can easily be picked in the form, but he quickened so easily and was able to coast past runners despite the steady early pace and although I don’t like to form opinions purely on “feel”, my gut tells me he is an above average Colt. His Dam was a promising juvenile who finished 6th in the Jean-Luc Lagardere and there are several pattern class performers in the immediate family. As a once raced maiden winner, his options are somewhat limited, but he has been supplemented for this race and it looks like a clever piece of placement. He was my main angle into this contest as I was keen to see how we would perform in better company, and I think he is a fascinating runner.
I have attached a screenshot of the early markets (courtesy of Attheraces.com) and it isn’t overly surprising to see that Broadfield has been installed as favourite. He is the most likely winner, and he has the pedigree, the Juddmonte Silks and the trainer to suggest that he will be well supported. A price of 15/8 looks about right, but that is about as far as I can go with this market. Considering the last run of Not Alone and the obvious risks attached, as well as the stayer’s profile of Taybet, they both look too short and so I will be backing High Record if that price holds. He may have won at Senonnes and may not have the profile of a classy horse, but it is hard to argue with his debut performance and that makes him worth chancing, especially given the doubts over 2 of his 3 realistic rivals. I think it is highly likely that Broadfield and High Record will end this season rated higher then Not Alone and Taybet, although the latter may improve once he is racing over a more suitable trip, so the Forecast with the unexposed pair also makes some appeal.