You couldn’t write the script. This year’s Derby was a day – no, days – of drama for the world’s greatest race. It’s good that it hit the front pages this morning but very little of it was for actual racing reasons.
* When jockey Kieren Fallon switched mounts from Native Khan to Recital, a High Court judge said ‘ok’ but the Appeal Court said ‘not ok’ and he was barred from the race.
* The royal runner and hot favourite, Carlton House, who had suffered a slight ‘filling’ in a leg, and missed some work, was everybody’s favourite on the day after drifting in the betting in the week.
* In the race itself, badly drawn in unlucky 13, the Queen’s colt, legs thinly bandaged, was taken out well wide and wasted far more ground than the length or so that he lost by.
* When Carlton House challenged for the lead, a loose shoe caused him to hang off a line. Just as Pour Moi came with a rattle on his outside, Carlton House’s shoe flew off.
* When Pour Moi drew alongside Treasure Beach and Carlton House, his rider, 19-year-old Mickael Barzalona, stood up in the stirrups, prematurely celebrating victory. Only the momentum of his challenge carried him home by a head.
* Tearful and aggrieved in the royal colours, ex-champion Ryan Moore cursed the ‘rubbish’ outsiders which hampered his chances. Around 96 lengths separated the winner from the last horse to finish, with the final pair 100-1 and 150-1 at SP.
* For Andre Fabre, 22 times French champion trainer, the Derby was, at long last, ‘pour moi.’ Native Khan (J Murtagh), also hampered, was fifth. Recital (P Smullen) was sixth.
1.20 Chantilly (Prix De Royaumont) Fabre and Barzalona should be in the money in the very first race on French Derby day with Avongrove but the Godolphin filly was turned over by Ozeta over a furlong shorter at Longchamp three weeks ago.
Testosterone, the even money favourite, was third, with Campanillas fourth but that form suggests that Gorgeous Sixty and Jehannedarc are in front of them all, since they gave weight and were beaten only narrowly by Campanillas a month earlier.
Jehannedarc, by Pour Moi’s sire, Montjeu, out of a Rainbow Quest mare, should relish the extra furlong here and is the best value on Betdaq at 7.4, with Ozeta and Avongrove battling for favourtism at much shorter offers.
2.08 Chantilly (Prix Du Jockey Club, FRENCH DERBY) The majestic Dalakhani colt Baraan looks a bargain at 5.7 on Betdaq. I tipped him up for this race – and for the Arc – in recent columns and confidence is now sky high since his Prix La Force success had Pour Moi only third.
The Aga Khan is also represented by Sandagiyr for the stable of Alain De Royer Dupre which has won this race five times but the Dr Fong colt is badly drawn out wide (which hereinafter is called the Carlton House route).
Lope De Vega overcame stall 20 last year but was the exception to the rule, the four previous winners having come from stalls four, five and seven, with two, four and five winning 50% of the time this century. The strength of the low draw has been exacerbated by the reduction in trip from 1m 4f to 1m 2f and a few yards.
Since the change, the French Guineas (first Tin Horse) and the 1m 1f Prix De Guiche (first Absolutly Yes, second Nobel Winner) have become the best guides. Aidan O’Brien (Roderic O’Connor) is 0 from 19 in the race and Prairie Star’s trainer 0-10.
Bubble Chic is the benchmark for the race. Having run second to both Pour Moi (Saint Desir behind) and Recital, he is up there with the best but the Prix La Force suggests that Baraan, who comfortably beat Prairie Star and Pour Moi, is the best three-year-old colt in Europe.
Tin Horse won just as cozily in the French Guineas and was much too fresh when earlier beaten by Glaswegian. At 7.0, he is the alternative to Baraan.
2.50 Chantilly (Prix De Sandringham) After this race Aidan O’Brien may be wishing he had a daughter of his Guineas winner Footstepsinthesand by name of Sunday Nectar: she’s two from two over a mile this year.
French Guineas also-rans Esperita, Mixed Intention and Immortal Verse are down in grade, while Clive Cox’s English raider, Perfect Tribute, steps up one from her Group-3 win at Lingfield.
3.25 Chantilly (Grand Prix De Chantilly) Let’s hope Baraan has better luck than the Aga Khan’s Behkabad, who was put up in this column for the Arc last year: he was hampered, fourth, and subsequently third in the Breeders Cup.
Michael Bell was no doubt hoping for some cut in the ground for Allied Powers, who won the race on soft last year and hasn’t much pace on a sound surface; the forecast ‘light showers’ may not be enough. Here’s Clive Cox again but Poet, who also prefers soft, is a front-runner who is vulnerable to a finisher. There’s not much between Ley Hunt and Silver Pond, as they drop down a grade, but Behkabad – not ground dependent – ought to win it.
4.00 Chantilly (Prix Du Gros-Chene) Split Trois comes out best at the weights on Group-3 running with Inxile, Prohibit, Mar Adentro and others. William Buick has the mount on a good outsider in Bluster.
But, while most of these needs things to drop right, Inxile is ultra consistent and has the low draw that was so vital in last year’s race.
BET 3.1pts win JEHANNEDARC and 1.4pts win (saver) OZETA (1.20 Chantilly)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: BET 6.3pts win BARAAN and 5pts win TIN HORSE (2.08 Chantilly)
BET 3.8pts win SUNDAY NECTAR (2.50 Chantilly)
LAY to win 10pts ALLIED POWERS and BET 12pts win (nap) BEHKABAD (3.25 Chantilly)
BET 3.2pts win SPLIT TROIS and 1.8pts win and place BLUSTER, plus 1pt win (saver) INXILE (4.00 Chantilly)