French Derby: can Fabre ace Victor Ludorum overcome a tight draw at Chantilly?
Prix du Jockey Club (Group 1) | 3yo colts & fillies | 1m2½f | Sky Sports Racing
Much of the talk ahead of the Investec Derby focused on English King's prospects from stall one and Mickael Barzalona will have to deal with the same dilemma aboard the warm favourite for the Prix du Jockey Club, Victor Ludorum.
With a relatively shorter run to the start of the right-hand turn at Chantilly the conventional wisdom is that a low number is vastly preferable than being trapped three or four wide as the field sweeps in front of the royal stables and the chateau.
Whether Victor Ludorum is the ideal type to benefit from his inner berth is open to question. His trainer Andre Fabre has always maintained this would be the ideal test for the son of Shamardal and was delighted with the way he picked up from the back to dominate his rivals over the mile at Deauville.
"I have always felt this was the race for him and the only thing that worries me is his style of racing as he likes to come from behind," said Fabre. "I hope he won't have any traffic problems but apart from that I am happy with everything. He is working well and he looks good. Any draw is good if you win."
Victor Ludorum is rated 3lb superior to the runner-up in the French Guineas, The Summit – the injured Olivier Peslier is replaced by Vincent Cheminaud – with a further 3lb back to Mishriff, Ecrivain and Pao Alto.
Fabre's second contender Ocean Atlantique has a bit to find on form but ran below 11 seconds for the penultimate furlong of an easy Listed win at Deauville, though he and Pierre-Charles Boudot must cope with the challenges of stall 14.
Fabre said: "He is a beautiful horse and a good mover. He has good initial speed and then can accelerate, as well as having a good temperament. He can go forward if necessary and is a nice easy ride."
What they say
Andreas Schutz, trainer of Dawn Intello
The way his last race turned out when he got no run at all certainly wasn't an advantage but he's come out of the race in good shape. He was fresh and kicking the next day. He is mentally very straightforward, I couldn't be happier with him and he has a lovely draw.
Jean-Bernard Roth, assistant to Jean-Claude Rouget, trainer of Fantastic Spirit and Port Guillaume
Fantastic Spirit has risen up the ranks one step at a time on a tour of the racecourses in the south west and the south east and has plenty of racing experience. You shouldn’t forget that Monsieur Caro has been a lucky owner for us. Port Guillaume is improving and has a strong mind. He has all the qualities to be right there on Sunday.
Fabrice Chappet, trainer of Gold Trip, San Fabrizio and Pisanello
Gold Trip has earned his spot having won a Group 2. The Greffulhe was over a bit further than this and he is up against different opposition but the horse has done everything we have asked of him up to this point, while his preparation has gone well. It all went wrong for San Fabrizio in the the Prix de Guiche but he is better than he showed there and is progressing. Both he and Pisanello have to prove they can stay the trip after running over 1,800 metres [1m1f] in a race without any pace.
Eddy Hardouin, jockey of Chachnak
When he won the Guiche I think he was in command all the way up the straight and held off several different challenges. I think it's a big advantage that he ran over most of the Jockey Club track as well. Fabrice has no doubt in his ability to stay and when he ran poorly over 2,000 metres [1m2f] at Marseille on very deep ground.
John Gosden, trainer of Mishriff
He won't mind a bit of give in the ground as he's pretty versatile in that department and won quite a strong Listed race on his return at Newmarket last month. Obviously this is a step up and he'll need some luck in running.
Alex Pantall, trainer of The Summit
It's a great shame about Olivier Peslier because he rode him the last time and they got on very well. With his wide draw, experience could be invaluable. He is a pretty easy horse to handle and usually breaks well so hopefully he can take up a good position without expending too much effort. After that he will sit in the jockey's hands and Vincent will have to try and finesse his stamina because I can't be sure if he will stay the 2,100 metres.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Fort Myers and Order Of Australia
Order Of Australia ran a lovely race in the Irish Derby and we think the trip will suit him well. We think Fort Myers will get the trip as well.
Mikael Mescam, trainer of Hurricane Dream
He is my only Flat horse so, although I thought he was good, it was very hard to judge him at home. I felt he could win at Chantilly last time but I didn't necessarily expect him to do it in such a stylish manner. He has a real turn of foot and he has improved since that run. I think that with better horses to take him further into the race, there is more to come.
Carlos Laffon-Parias, trainer of Ecrivain
You have to forget his last run when he was sick. There’s a question mark over stepping up in trip but his style of running gives hope, as he always finishes off his races well. He seems very well in himself.
Christophe Ferland, trainer of Pao Alto
I have been able to prepare him as I wished and I don’t have any concern over the step up in trip.
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