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Key questions and trainer views for the Prix du Jockey Club

Rostropovich heads four-strong O'Brien quest for first success

Hey Gaman (centre) just misses out to Olmedo (right) with Dice Roll third in the Emirates Poule d'Essai des Poulains. The trio reoppose in the Qipco Prix du Jockey Clyb
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3.15 Chantilly
Qipco Prix du Jockey Club | Group 1 | 3yo colts & fillies | 1m2½f | RUK

This is a race with multiple plausible leading contenders. Olmedo, Hey Gaman and Dice Roll cross swords again after a closely fought Poule d'Essai des Poulains; Rostropovich bids to build on his Dee Stakes success with Classic victory at the head of a squad of four representing Aidan O'Brien; and there is a deeply impressive trial winner in Study Of Man.

Will longer trip help Tate colt turn the tables?

The memory of James Tate's mixture of pride and frustration in the moments after the Poule d'Essai betrayed just how much he thinks of Hey Gaman, who will bid to emulate Le Havre and New Bay in turning Longchamp silver into Chantilly gold.

James Doyle was positive from the gate over a mile last time and the question is whether he will be confident to apply the same tactics here over two and a half furlongs further on a horse who has yet to prove his stamina beyond a mile, with the option of a more restrained approach compromised by a widish draw in stall 13.

"Hopefully the mile and a quarter will bring some improvement and he's bred for that to be the case," said Tate. "We felt he got out-speeded last time. You're in trepidation when you go up in trip for the first time and part of you hopes he gets it and part of you hopes he improves for it.

"It's the unknown but he's got only a neck to find on the favourite. We'll learn a lot more after the race, but he's in great form and I couldn't be happier with him."

Can Olmedo complete Rouget hat-trick?

Having got caught in the ruck behind the stumbling US Navy Flag, Olmedo came from a deeply unpromising position at Longchamp and there can be little doubt he possesses a huge turn of foot, given the way he ran down Dice Roll and Hey Gaman.

That victory surge came on quick ground and this week's storms and the resulting soft surface mean the colt will face a different challenge in his bid to follow Almanzor and Brametot to complete a hat-trick in the Jockey Club for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget

"He always runs his race, and although he has been beaten a few times he had excuses last year," said Rouget. "He knows the track having run in the Lagardere, which is a positive.

"I've been happy with how he's come out of Longchamp and now he just needs things to go right on the day."

Has the rain sunk Rostropovich?

Rostropovich won a recognised Derby trial, the Dee Stakes at Chester, in the manner of a colt who would have held decent claims at Epsom and heads here as team leader for Aidan O'Brien on recent form and jockey bookings.

That Chester win came on good ground and was in sharp contrast to his subdued effort behind Wootton and Olmedo in testing conditions in the Prix de Fontainebleau.

Rostropovich showed his quality in dominating the Homeserve Dee Stakes at Chester last month

Chantilly won't be as deep as Longchamp was that day but this week's thunderstorms can't have helped the claims of Rostropovich, who bids to become O'Brien's first Jockey Club winner and a second for Ryan Moore, victorious on The Grey Gatsby in 2014.

O'Brien said: "We were delighted with Rostropovich's win at Chester. He came out of the race well and we're happy with him."

Rostropovich has stable back-up from the Wayne Lordan-ridden Flag Of Honour, who was beaten only half a length on his reappearance in the Prix Noailles, along with Hunting Horn (Seamie Heffernan) and Kenya (Padraig Beggy).

O'Brien said: "Flag Of Honour was disappointing at Chester but had run well in France on his first start of the year and we're dropping him back in trip.

"Hunting Horn was a good third in the Sandown trial and, although he was a bit disappointing at Chester last time, we're taking him back in distance.

"Kenya didn't perform at Chester but is a Group 3 winner and we've been happy with him since his last run."

Will Study or Key be pick of trial winners?

Study Of Man goes after a second Classic in seven days for the Niarchos family, following on from Alpha Centauri's success in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

Held by Chilean on his return to action on heavy ground in the Prix La Force, he bounded clear of his three rivals in the Prix Greffulhe, leaving Noailles runner-up Alhadab six lengths back in third.

"Pascal [Bary, trainer] has been very happy with the preparations this week and he has a very good draw in six; now we need luck in running," said Niarchos racing manager Alan Cooper.

"He won well at Saint-Cloud on very soft ground last year and Pascal isn't expressing any worries on that score. It’s just that the better the ground, the fairer it is for everybody."

Key Victory is unbeaten in two starts – most recently overcoming trouble in running to win the Listed Newmarket Stakes – and Charlie Appleby had little hesitation in recommending to his Godolphin bosses the colt be supplemented on Wednesday at a cost of €72,000.

"He goes there on the back of a good performance at Newmarket," said Appleby. "The question mark is the ground as they've had a bit of rain but he has a good draw and I feel he's at the right stage of his career to step up to this level."

What the others say

Fabrice Chappet, trainer of Dice Roll, Intellogent and Stable Genius
The idea has always been not to test them over the trip until D-day. I don't think the ground will be an excuse for anyone and, while we haven't been spoilt by the draw, the horses are well and I have good men on board.  

Xavier Thomas-Demeaulte, trainer of Patascoy
The draw isn’t great. I think he'd have won the Guiche if Cristian Demuro had known him a bit better. It's an open race and he has every right to run as he's improving and comes here a fresh horse.

Christophe Ferland, trainer of Not Mine
The form of his second in the Prix de Suresnes looks good because the winner [Naturally High] beat us a head and he’s running in the Jockey Club too – I don't think Pascal Bary would be running him if he didn’t feel he had a chance. I hope it doesn’t get too soft as Not Mine wasn’t able to show his best on heavy ground at Saint-Cloud in the Prix Francois Mathet.

Read the fullest reports and reaction from the Qipco Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly on Sunday on









Hopefully the mile and a quarter will bring some improvement and he's bred for that to be the case
E.W. Terms
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