DERBY WINNERS CLASH IN FRENCH GRAND PRIX: With £300,000 first prize, the Grand Prix de Paris has two Derby winners and two Derby seconds in a fabulous field at Longchamp tonight. Don’t miss Daqman’s analysis.
NAPS-HUNGRY DAQMAN HUNTS QUALITY RACES: Daqman has had two winners and a second in his last three naps and today searches out the best-quality races to try to add to his tally, with six meetings in England to choose from.
The ratings say it’s a Derby-Derby dead-heat. My assessment of public form for tonight’s Grand Prix De Paris works out at Reliable Man 100, Treasure Beach 100, Bubble Chic 98, Seville 98, which suggests a dead-heat of the Irish and French Derby winners, with the runners-up dead level for third.
Meandre and Kreem, saddled by 22 times champion trainer Andre Fabre, have to be considered – though rated 12lb inferior in my book at 88 and 87 respectively – since both have won on the course and both have won at the trip. You see, it’s the distance that puts the ratings into question, which is probably why the Racing Post has edged it at 134 Treasure Beach, 133 Reliable Man.
This Grand Prix at Longchamp is really the French Derby, since their Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly, won by Reliable Man from Bubble Chic, is only 1m 2f, so not reliable, man!
The Curragh Derby over 1m 4f, won by Treasure Beach from Seville, franked the form of the Epsom Derby, in which Treasure Beach was beaten only a head by Pour Moi, so far reckoned the best three-year-old in France, better then than Reliable Man.
And, don’t forget, the whispering leprechaun, Aidan O’Brien, will be shuffling back the pack, stamina wise, by playing his usual trump card, a pacemaker, Marksmanship. Or is he there on merit? It would be unusual to see Ryan Moore acting as a decoy!
You could argue that Reliable Man has the edge that he is racing at home on softened ground, whereas Treasure Beach has to travel, and has won all his races on good and good to firm.
You could argue that the improver, in fact, is Seville (a winner on the soft): he was virtually tailed off at Epsom but got within threeparts of a length of Treasure Beach at The Curragh.
That’s easily knocked down by suggesting that Seville didn’t act on the Epsom course – it’s happened to many other quality horses – but there is another measure of improvement: Seville was a length and a half behind Carlton House in the Dante, as well as being behind him at Epsom, but was around two lengths in front of him at The Curragh.
But, if Seville gets better and better, what about Treasure Beach? Raceform reported after The Curragh: ‘The improvement made by Treasure Beach since winning a Galway nursery off a mark of 84 – he’s officially now 120 – has no precedent in the modern history of the (Irish Derby).”
Tradition states that Tulyar (1952) was the last Derby winner in England to come through the ranks from a two-year-old handicap.
Treasure Beach still had a mark of only (OR) 105 when he beat Nathaniel a head in the Chester Vase but his upward mobility was revealed in two Derbys and franked by Nathaniel as five-lengths winner of the King Edward (what a price Nathaniel was that day at 11-4, beating a maiden and a Group-3 winner!)
3.40 Hamilton: Drop down a stone and a half on official figures and you have Hunters Light (OR 100), who should be suited to the course in this Listed, having grabbed the lead in the Group-3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot before fading on the soft in the final furlong.
Palm Pilot and Albaraka are the two others in this to have raced in the Pattern but their Listed efforts don’t look up to Hunter’s Light’s level – at least 10lb behind on the ratings – so the allowances don’t appear to make up the deficit.
4.00 Cartmel: Peter Bowen, who won this last year with Mizen Raven, saddles Quattrocento in identical circumstances: same age, same rating, same weight. Only the name has been changed to protect the innocent layer.
J P McManus’s Foxesbow will be all the rage, with Tony McCoy up, but is an in-and-out performer – wins one, loses one – and his success is over 3m on easy tracks. His form at a trip beyond 24f is: 00P
Quattrocento, on the other hand, has twice won chases at 25 furlongs and has been placed over 27f. Quattrocento has won within 3lb of his current rating; Foxesbow has to find 6lb.
Seize has form at this trip and will benefit from the reliable ride of Graham Lee but, with their trainers known to be in form, Quattrocento (7.2 on Betdaq as I write) and Foxesbow (5.9) should fight it out.
6.15 Longchamp (Prix Maurice De Nieuil): Mikael Barzalona has his chance of a Group win in Paris if, as suggested by his form this season, Ley Hunter is the stayer they all think he is.
Shamanova has already proved his stamina but only at Listed level and, on a line through Blek, has nothing much in hand on the old warrior, Kasbah Bliss. English raider Allied Powers is already a Group winner twice in France but I like John Dunlop’s Listed York scorer Times Up (Ryan Moore) for a place, though he wouldn’t want worse than the English ‘good to soft.’
6.50 Longchamp (Grand Prix de Paris): There is a tide in the affairs of men, and there seems to be one with horses: there is a new willingness to race good thoroughbreds against each other.
Aidan O’Brien takes two – maybe three, as Marksmanship is unexposed – of his best colts to Longchamp. Alain de Royer-Dupre takes him on with the French Derby winner, Andre Fabre tries to spoil the party with two potential improvers and Bubble Chic could prick bubbles, as runner-up to our Derby winner in May and to the French Derby winner in June.
Not a race to look for treasure but you have to beach your bet with the best 12-furlong runner we know, on the form so far.
BET (to win 20pts) 8.8pts win (nap) HUNTER’S LIGHT (3.40 Hamilton)
BET 4pts win FOXESBOW and 3.2pts win QUATTROCENTO (4.00 Cartmel)
DAQ MULTIPLES: 5 x 1pt win doubles and 2 x 1pt win trebles Hunter’s Light (3.40 Hamilton) with both Foxesbow and Quattrocento (4.00 Cartmel) and with Treasure Beach (6.50 Longchamp)