‘GOLD’ CLASH IN THE FRENCH OAKS: French Guineas winner Golden Lilac and Goldikova’s relative, Galikova, clash in the French Oaks, the Prix De Diane, at Chantilly this afternoon but Daqman spots an improver in the race.
RAIN COULD GIVE ENGLISH CARDS A SOAKING: Heavy rain for Salisbury and lighter showers at Doncaster could change the ground at the English venues this afternoon. Daqman advises accordingly.
It’s a great Head to head! Freddie Head today takes on master-trainer Andre Fabre in a magic match for the French Oaks which, for one of them, could be the first leg of a magnificent double to be completed at Royal Ascot.
Head, who saddles Galikova, has another head-to-head on Tuesday in the Queen Anne Stakes when record-breaker Goldikova takes on Canford Cliffs. Fabre, who has already taken our Derby, has Brigantin, one of the shorteners in the betting for Thursday’s Ascot Gold Cup, and today saddles his precious filly Golden Lilac as Prix De Diane favourite.
Fabre has won three Dianes but the fillies’ Classic last went to the Head family when father Alec won it in 1978 with Reine de Saba, owned by the Wertheimers, for whom son Freddie now saddles both Goldikova and Galikova.
The Diane clash of Golden Lilac and Galikova is a match of two daughters of Galileo who have taken different routes to a soft-ground Chantilly this afternoon, where the weather could be hot and humid.
When I Googled, I got two different versions of the Chantilly temperature (69F and 87F), in each case sun, cloud and rain. I also miss my friend, Desmond Stoneham, for accuracy today: for instance, the Diane spotlight in the Racing Post tells me that Golden Lilac won the ‘Poulains’.
Golden Lilac was, in fact, a comfortable three-lengths winner of the ‘Pouliches’, the French 1,000 Guineas not the 2,000. If she’d won the ‘Poulains’, trans-gender, she would be odds on here. As it is, she will be plenty short enough.
The Aga Khan’s filly, Shareta, is one of the least exposed but has ground to make up on Galikova on Saint-Cloud form in April; so has the seeming Fabre second string, Wavering (Mickael Barzalona), on Galikova at the same venue in May.
Fillies’ form can be deceiving, since they develop more slowly than the colts in the Spring but, with sun on their backs, can suddenly take a leap forward, and note that Wavering has progressed – at around today’s trip – to beat both Epic Love and Glorious Sight, the Pouliches runner-up, in the prestigious Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp.
What makes life difficult for form students is that Glorious Sight tried to make all in the Pouliches, when run out of it by Golden Lilac, but was held up in the Saint-Alary, coming late in a blanket finish, with Wavering quickening up the best.
With Fabre commenting that he cannot be absolutely sure that Golden Lilac will stay, it’s not wavering to say that you have to back Wavering as well. At this distance from the race, as my cornflakes crackle, and for the purposes of the archive, I’ll take the bigger odds and save on the favourite.
SALISBURY Border Patrol (3.40) is clear on the ratings for the Listed at Salisbury, where we are likely to have considerable rain beating down on a firm surface. Always tricky for punters.
But, though Border Patrol will relish any cut, his figures are based on 2009 success. Elnawin will want it to stay dry but Russian Spirit (Listed) and High Standing (Group 3) have already won in the pattern when there has been ease in the ground.
High Standing drops back to sprinting but his move up to 7f was because he hadn’t the pace for the speed game and blinkers first time on his latest start didn’t do anything for him. Even with the small field, it’s still very tricky to call over the cornflakes.
DONCASTER It’s the same story at ‘Donny’, and I do hope we have a settled surface for Royal Ascot. It’s difficult enough without the English weather.
Jeremy Noseda is in sensational form (current figures 1233131331103), a bit like mine during the week, but neither he nor I can have any confidence unless we know the state of the ground and know it’s not going to change in a matter of an hour or two.
Maidens and first-time-back runners are Noseda’s forte, and I shall take a bit of Talwar (2.50) at 8.6 before the real money starts to bite.
If the rain gets into the ground, you’d fancy an improved run from his Selkirk filly, Korabushka (4.30). It’s an unusual booking for Paul Hanagan, and the 28.0 this morning could fall as fast as the rain, should a deluge happen.
Saeed Bin Suroor has never been out of the frame in the maiden fillies’ stakes – two wins and a third – and Eastern Breeze (3.05) has been supported to continue the tradition.
Tillietudlem and Silent Lucidity (2.15), first and second in the apprentices’ race last year, will have been primed for a repeat and, at 7.6 and 17.5, I’m happy to split my stake.
BET 3pts win TILLITUDLEM and 1.2pts win and place SILENT LUCIDITY (2.15 Doncaster)
BET 2.6pts win and place TALWAR (2.50 Doncaster)
BET 4pts win WAVERING and 1pts win (saver) GOLDEN LILAC (2.30 Chantilly)
BET 5pts win and place EASTERN BREEZE (3.05 Doncaster)
BET 0.7pts win and 1pt place KORABUSHKA (4.30 Doncaster)