British and Irish trainers venture in numbers to Chantilly on Sunday: Roger Varian (Altyn Orda) and Karl Burke (Ellthea) will attempt to become the first to win the Prix de Sandringham since Mick Channon saddled Laugh Out Loud to win the 2012 renewal, while A Momentofmadness will attempt to follow in the footsteps of two-time winner Muthmir in the Prix du Gros-Chêne. Dubai Gold Cup third Rare Rhythm attempts to get back to winning ways for Charlie Appleby in the Grand Prix de Chantilly, however the feature race –less than 24 hours after the English equivalent - is the French Derby, or Prix du Jockey Club, due off at 4.15pm (BST).
Aidan O’Brien saddles four in his quest for a first win in the race, which would emulate former Ballydoyle residents David O’Brien, who won the race with Assert in 1982, and Vincent O’Brien who saddled Caerleon to victory a year later. His chief protagonist appears to be Rostropovich, a 1,100,000 guineas purchase as a yearling who took a step towards paying back that fee when improving to win the Dee Stakes at Chester last time. Dee flop Kenya, along with Chester Vase third and fifth, Hunting Horn and Flag of Honour, provide the supporting cast.
Top on Timeform ratings
The star attraction could turn out to be Olmedo, who narrowly tops Timeform ratings. Runner-up to Happily in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere here in October, he stepped up on his reappearance when landing the Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp last time by a neck from Hey Gaman. He’s from the family of Breeders' Cup Mile winner Steinlen, but shapes as if this trip will be within range and may yet do better still for a yard that are chasing a Prix du Jockey Club hat-trick after wins for Almanzor and Brametot, the latter having also won the Poulains en-route.
Hey Gaman is one of two Newmarket raiders. He looked in control for a long way, but perhaps just needed the run, when three quarters of a length third to James Garfield in the Greenham Stakes on reappearance, and showed improved form when chasing home Olmedo last time. Key Victory looked an exciting prospect when landing a listed race at Newmarket last month, beating Old Persian by one and a quarter lengths, and it’s no surprise that he has been fast-tracked into Group 1 company.
Aside from Hey Gaman, two others in this 18-strong field were beaten behind Olmedo in the Poulains, with Dice Roll (third) faring better than Louis d’Or (last of 11). Dice Roll had previously shown much improved form to win the seven-furlong Prix Djebel by a clear margin on testing ground at Deauville and ran at least as well at Longchamp; he shouldn’t be dismissed lightly, with the longer trip likely to suit this relaxed sort, especially if he follows in the footsteps of his mile and a half-winning dam.
Study Of Man, who came out of the Derby at Epsom at the five-day stage, won a four-runner Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud (beat the 108-rated Alounak by three and a half lengths, quickening to lead again under two furlongs out) when last seen and is open to plenty of improvement, while Naturally High’s wins have not been so high profile but he is on a steep upward curve, and, along with Hunting Horn, is one of the higher-rated progeny of Camelot.
Intellogent beat Patascoy when landing the 9f Prix de Guiche here last time, while it’s safe to assume that Andre Fabre, a four-time winner of the race, believes Al Adaid, a Longchamp maiden winner just a month ago, will not disgrace himself.
All in all, this looks one of the most open renewals of the Prix du Jockey Club that we’ve seen in recent years. Study of Man and Key Victory remain open to plenty of improvement, however both have been fairly well found in the betting behind favourite Olmedo. The latter is a worthy market leader, always considered the stable’s main classic hope, however some value may lie with Dice Roll. He was only beaten a neck and a nose by Olmedo and Hey Gaman at Longchamp and, with hardly anything to find on ratings, looks good each-way value at 12/1, especially if the track receives any further rain.
Back Dice Roll each-way in Sunday’s Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly at 12/1