A top quality card at Chantilly today that helps cure the Epsom hangover, with five Group races to get stuck into. The feature race on the card is the Group 1 Prix Du Jockey Club and Mark Duncan has a confident EW selection in the race!
The Group 1 Prix Du Jockey Club, otherwise known as the French Derby, is a high quality race on paper. Classy types such as Reliable Man, Lope De Vega and Vision D’Etat have won this race in recent years, so it’s likely there’ll be a few good types in the field. This years race would certainly look like an above average affair – it certainly looks more competitive on paper than the English equivalent yesterday, The most eye-catching runner in the field must be Imperial Monarch. He won a classic trial at Sandown in taking fashion – it certainly wasn’t the winning distance that was taking, but it was the distance he actually ran in the race, going the long way around the track under a cool ride by Joseph O’Brien and lunging late on the stands side to win the race by one and half lengths to Thought Worthy. If you haven’t seen the race yet, it’s well worth a watch. Thought Worthy did the form no harm yesterday in the English Derby at Epsom when coming a respectable 4th. It’s interesting Aiden O’Brien has sent him over to France as there’s no doubt he had the ability for the English equivalent, but it’s likely he isn’t up to level of the talented Camelot. Aiden O’Brien has a 0-23 record in the race, but it’s likely Imperial Monarch will be his best chance to date to break that record.
The Nicolas Clement trained French Fifteen holds every chance based on his Guineas second to Camelot. He won the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint Cloud, as well as taking the Prix Djebel on his first start before going on to the Guineas. Whether he will stay is a question mark, but he certainly holds the class and appeared to be staying on well over the mile at Newmarket. For me he looks too short at 9/2, and I’d be much more willing to take the 11/2 on Imperial Monarch to do the business.
Sofast would be an interesting type at a slightly bigger price from a trainer and jockey partnership that can’t be ignored. He has very good 2yo form which would put him in with every chance, however like so many in the race, the stamina is a huge doubt and there is plenty of speed in his pedigree so this step up in trip is unlikely to show his best talents. Another who can’t be dismissed easily is Most Improved, who was well backed for the 2000 Guineas but was lame and therefore missed the race. His sire won the race and could be anything at this stage. However the Dewhurst third could need the run and may be touch inexperienced for this, so it would take a leap of faith with the Brian Meehan runner to get stuck in, however he is an interesting 10/1 EW price.
Godolphin are represented by Saint Baudolino, who looks to be improving with racing and beat Sofast last time in the Prix De Guiche. It’s possible he’s better than the bare form as he had to barge through the second and third and could be an interesting contender. There are others in the race who hold chances, including Ektihaam (Paul Hanagan has a 60% strike rate when riding for Roger Varian) and Top Trip (needs to step up but has won the Group 2 Prix Hocquart over 1 mile 3f).
However for the winner, it’s a confident EW play on Imperial Monarch. He’s running from a stable that is dominating the classics in the UK, his jockey is in ret hot form, and he frankly could be very special in his own right. He will have been training with Camelot on the gallops and he could be ready to break Aiden O’Briens voodoo in the race with so many doubtful stayers in the line-up. At 11/2 with SkyBet, he looks a cracking EW bet to hit the front three. The French have dominated the race in previous years, so I’d expect to see big challenges from Saint Baudolino and French Fifteen.
3.15 Chantilly Imperial Monarch 11/2 EW (Bet with SkyBet)
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