This weekends Prix Du Moulin is probably the most talked about race in France that I can remember. Prior to the race, it had been billed as a race for the ages, with all 6 runners Group 1 winners in their own right. On the face of it, Persian King winning the race could be considered a bit of shock. He wasn’t overly fancied, I had let him go as I wrongly assumed the Prix D’Ispahan form wasn’t that strong, especially after Stormy Antarctic blew out at Haydock on Saturday.
In reality, this was a multiple Group 1 winning horse, winning another Group 1, at a track where he has course form. Is it that big of a surprise? In racing when a favourite doesn’t win, especially in a big race like this, there is always a mad search to find a reason why it didn’t win. Pinatubo, and for that matter James Doyle, rode a great race. Given the pre-race doubts over his stamina, I don’t think James Doyle could possibly have ridden close to the fast pace and if he had, I’m not convinced that Pinatubo would have had the energy left to have such a fast finishing kick. The mile course at Paris Longchamp is not the stiffest test, which allowed all of the horses to fill up on the run down to the false straight, giving no real excuses for stamina.
Pierre-Charles Boudot rode a superb race, knowing that his horse was the most likely to stay if the race was firmly run. To track Circus Maximus, the most genuine horse in the field, gave him the perfect tow into the closing stages and the pace was able to be maintained for long enough to be decisive. Persian King has proven himself to be top class, but I think he requires a very specific set of circumstances to bring out his best, namely, slight cut in the ground and a strong pace to bring him along. Whether he will get those again this season remains to be seen, but on Sunday, he was simply the best horse.
Called to the Bar
In winning the group 3 Prix Gladiateur stakes this weekend, Called to the Bar finally got his day in the sun. Having been unlucky in defeat behind San Huberto and Red Verdon so far this season, Called to the Bar was able to take this Group 3 with relative ease. There is no doubt that is he a solid stayer and can definitely compete at this level, however, he does need the stars to align for him. As has been shown in his 2 defeats in 2020, if he doesn’t get the gaps at the right time or the pace isn’t a strong one, his hold up style can be exploited and I wouldn’t be certain he would back this up.
Prior to Thursdays Group 2 D’Arenberg Stakes, all of the talk was focussed on Wesley Wards US raider WINK. Unbeaten in 2 starts in the US, Wink was sent off a warm favourite at 10/11 for Thursdays opener. In truth, Wink had every chance, breaking well and able to dictate with the rail to help, so on the face of it there can be no excuses. However, having watched this back several times, I am now of the opinion that Kalahara is a proper horse. In spite of being niggled along from an early stage, this daughter of Frankel stayed on supremely well under pressure, over what was clearly an inadequate trip. The form of her 3 runs in maiden company is all working out quite well and with a step up to 7 furlongs or a mile, I think she could be a serious horse for next years fillies to worry about.