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Alex @ The Winning Post.

Welcome To The Winning Post!


AVENIR CERTAIN takes the 2014 Prix de Diane - ©AlexCairns
AVENIR CERTAIN takes the 2014 Prix de Diane – ©AlexCairns

14.45 – Le Prix De Diane
(3yo, 1m 2f 96y, Group I, 17 runners)

After a damp Jockey Club, in which we were lucky to have the hugely talented NEW BAY light up the day, France Galop have been placing the usual marketing spin on the Prix de Diane, hoping that the prospect of hats and picnics and pop groups and expensive watches will help attract a more healthy crowd than the sparse spattering who braved the rain of French Derby day.

For those of us who visit the track in order to watch and enjoy horse racing (we are unfortunately not very numerous here in France), this circus is always an unwelcome distraction from the day’s sport. Of course, it can’t outweigh the spectacle and intrigue of one of the world’s great races, but it would be nice to see the powers at be focus their attentions on the promotion of racing itself and the experience of true racing people, rather than prioritising the one-off outing of the fly-by-night reveller.

‘Fly-by-night Reveller’. That might be a good name for a horse…

Anyway, on to the action!

In 2015 we have a bumper field of 17 going to post for the Prix de Diane, which means the question of stalls position has been even more prominent than usual. Here is a rundown of the field and their draw:

The 2015 Prix de Diane field and their draw - ©AlexCairns
The 2015 Prix de Diane field and their draw – ©AlexCairns

As can be noted above, hot favourite Queen’s Jewel, who took her unbeaten run to 3 when winning the Group I Prix Saint-Alary over 10f at Longchamp in a record time on 24/05, has had the misfortune of drawing 17 of 17.

Despite this disadvantage, the Freddy Head-trained daughter of Pivotal remains clear in the market at a best-priced 7/4, having been so consistently impressive since starting her winning streak in March.

Having not raced at 2, her margin for progression remains massive and she will also benefit from the assistance of a leader, Clarmina. A good pace could see Queen’s Jewel to even better effect, as she took a while to warm up in a slowly run race at Longchamp, but finished strongly to leave her rivals floundering.

So Queen’s Jewel certainly has a very attractive profile, especially as the Diane has gone to an unbeaten filly for each of the last 7 years. A poor draw, a lack of Chantilly experience, and a restrictive price are enough to convince me to invest my money elsewhere however, though it will of course be no surprise if she goes on to offer Freddy Head his first Prix de Diane as a trainer.

With the favourite discounted as a betting option, my attentions turn to one of the other unbeaten fillies in the race: MOJO RISIN.

Like WAR DISPATCH, who landed us a place at 10/1 in the Jockey Club, MOJO RISIN has a rather unconventional background for a Classic contender, having been unsold at the 2013 Tattersalls yearling sales due to her light frame before being purchased privately for just 6,000 guineas.

Also like WAR DISPATCH, she is trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, who has won 3 of the last 6 runnings of the Diane, including last year with AVENIR CERTAIN. Under Rouget’s tutelage, this daughter of 2010 Prix du Jockey Club winner LOPE DE VEGA has recorded 3 wins from 3 outings, including a Toulouse Listed race when last seen on 25/04.

Jean-Claude Rouget - Trained 3 of the last 6 Diane winners - ©AlexCairns
Jean-Claude Rouget – Trained 3 of the last 6 Diane winners – ©AlexCairns

Though light-framed, MOJO RISIN has a lovely top-of-the-ground action and has been described as a ‘gazelle’ by her trainer. Admittedly, she has not had much to beat so far and has not taken a conventional Diane trial, but Rouget says he is confident of her ability, having tested her against good horses at home, and her Listed win at Toulouse certainly left a strong visual impression.

With last year’s winning jockey Gregory Benoist in the saddle and a prime draw in stall 8, MOJO RISIN is my each-way selection at 8/1.

The final filly with an as yet unblemished record is Physiocrate, who is in the care of up-and-coming trainer Henri-François Devin and runs in the black and white colours of famous French chaser SHANNON ROCK. She too has a huge potential, having only hit the turf on 04/05. Her 2 victorious outings have both been over the Diane’s track and trip and it is only her less attractive pedigree and the good record of Jean-Claude Rouget that cause me to favour MOJO RISIN.

With the Aga Khan’s KATANIYA having been taken out the race, Christophe Soumillon is free to ride Pascal Bary’s Désirée Clary, who has shown quality in 4 outings, but was beaten by Physiocrate when last seen and will do well to land a place.

Famous French owners the Wildensteins have had some great moments in the Diane thanks to the likes of ALLEZ FRANCE (1973), PAWNEESE (1976), and AQUARELLISTE (2001). This year they have 2 candidates in the shape of Little Nightingale and Âme Bleue.

As might be expected, both fillies have enviable Classic pedigrees, with Âme Bleue being by DUBAWI out of the afore-mentioned Diane heroine AQUARELLISTE. Neither take my fancy for Sunday’s race however, as Âme Bleue has been a little laboured in landing 1 Maiden win from 5 starts, while Little Nightingale had to really work for her Prix Cléopatre victory and this form has since been let down by Oaks 8th AL NAAMAH.

ÂME BLEUE at Longchamp - ©AlexCairns
ÂME BLEUE at Longchamp – ©AlexCairns

This year’s Diane is notable for the number of international participants, with a total of 5 runners from the UK, Germany, and Italy taking their chance in a race not won by a foreign-trained filly since 1996.

The likes of John Gosden’s Musidora winner Star of Seville and Italian Derby 2nd Sound of Freedom certainly bring some extra spice to the race, however Star of Seville will have had just 9 days to recover from the exertions of her turbulent run in the Epsom Oaks, while the value of Sound of Freedom‘s Italian form is hard to assess.

So it seems there is a strong chance that the Diane trophy will be remaining in France once again this year, as Queen’s Jewel, Physiocrate, and MOJO RISIN appear likely to fight out the finish. It could be a close run affair, but I am hopeful the latter will prove the most potent!

Check us out on Facebook and Instagram for video replays and full photo coverage.

MOJO RISIN – 1pt EW at 8/1

Alex @ The Winning Post.

 The WP – Where every Post’s a Winning one!


PREVIEW! The Epsom Oaks – 05/06/2015

2014 Oaks winner TAGHROODA - ©AlexCairns
2014 Oaks winner TAGHROODA – ©AlexCairns

EPSOM – 16.30
Investec Oaks
(3yo, 1m 4f 10y, Group I, 11 runners)

Who will succeed the top-class Taghrooda and win today’s Epsom Oaks?

This is the question on the lips of racing fans the world over, as 11 fillies prepare to compete for supremacy on Epsom’s famously demanding Downs.

Legatissimo finds herself 3/1 favourite on the back of a dominant 1,000 Guineas success. She will have the assistance of Ryan Moore and should appreciate today’s 12f trip, but a draw in stall one in what appears a highly competitive renewal encourages me to look elsewhere for a bit more value.

Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Zvezda made a great impression when winning a Listed race at Newbury last time and recorded a notable time in the final furlong. This is a big step up in class however and she’ll surely struggle to employ the same tactics in an end-to-end gallop over 12f.

My pick is Musidora 2nd TOGETHER FOREVER, who was conceding weight when just failing to catch the reopposing Star of Seville at York on what was her first outing of the season. She still ran a stormer, looking like a mile and half would be up her street, and should have come on a great deal.

Aidan O’Brien also runs Chester Oaks winner Diamondsandrubies, while Jessica Harrington sends over Irish 1,000 Guineas 4th Jack Naylor. Both have shown serious quality, with the latter seemingly more likely today having stayed on well at the Curragh and shown good form on better ground.

Lady of Dubai, Jazzi Top, and Bellajeu are all bred in the purple, as you might expect, and are certainly entitled to play a part, however we can’t back them all and their form is markedly below that of some of their rivals.

And finally, in a race packed with class, the French maestro André Fabre runs Al Naamah, who is a full sister to 2012 Oaks winner WAS and cost 5m guineas as a yearling. She hasn’t set the world alight so far, but could surprise a few as she has seemingly done enough at home to encourage her shrewd handler to send her over.

As you might have guessed, this could be a really exciting race and I will be sure to post a replay on our Facebook page this evening!



Alex @ The Winning Post.

The WP – Where every Post’s a Winning one!

PREVIEW! The Epsom Oaks – 05/06/2015

PHOTOS! Prix du Jockey Club 2015

NEW BAY sweeps to victory - ©AlexCairns
NEW BAY sweeps to victory – © Alex Cairns

Last weekend I enjoyed my 3rd Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly and, following INTELLO in 2013 and THE GREY GATSBY last year, I was once again treated to a performance of great class thanks to the highly talented NEW BAY:

Having been an unlucky 2nd from a wide draw in the 8f Poule d’essai des poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) at Longchamp, NEW BAY made no mistake over the Jockey Club’s 10½f trip thanks to a tactically astute waiting ride from his 21-year-old pilot Vincent Cheminaud.

This was only the Dubawi colt’s 4th start, so he remains full of potential and will surely be campaigned to perfection by the ever-inspired André Fabre. In any case, he appears to have plenty of options for the future, whether he returns to a mile in a race like the Jacques Le Marois, remains around 10f for something like the Eclipse, or steps up to 12f for a tilt at the ultimate French prize, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

NEW BAY’s win will have been savoured by race fans around the world, but it provided me with a little additional satisfaction as he had been my 5/1 selection. And it was also nice to see WAR DISPATCH, our each-way fancy, take third spot at 10/1!

WAR DISPATCH before the off - ©AlexCairns
WAR DISPATCH before the off – © Alex Cairns

The big news following the race was that winning jockey Vincent Cheminaud will be taking a break from his highly successful jumps career to focus on the flat. This certainly seems to make sense as he is without weight problems, has the support of some of the biggest names in global flat racing, and has shown the potential to go to the very top of what is a lucrative game. The fact that he might not fall off quite as much is probably a fair attraction too!

Cheminaud will be having his last jumps rides for the foreseeable future at Sunday’s Grande Course de Haies (French Champion Hurdle) meeting at Auteuil. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for coverage.

As always, I was endeavouring to capture the key moments and the general ambiance of Sunday’s meeting for Winning Post followers and you can access my full Jockey Club photo album here: goo.gl/zGcRnr All shares are much appreciated.

My next outing will be back at Chantilly for the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) on 14/06 and I will be posting a preview and photos in due course.

Keep up to date with all of our output by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thanks for you support!

Alex @ The Winning Post.

The WP – Where every Post’s a Winning one!

PHOTOS! Prix du Jockey Club 2015

PREVIEW! Le Prix du Jockey Club – 31/05/2015

The home straight at Chantilly - © Alex Cairns
The home straight at Chantilly – © Alex Cairns

15.45 – Le Prix du Jockey Club
(3yo, 1m 2f 96y, Group I, 14 runners) 

The Prix du Jockey Club 2015 marks the tenth anniversary of what we might call the ‘French Derby 2.0’, with a decade having slipped by since the distance was dropped from 12f (2,400m) to a 10½f (2,100m) in 2005.

Some of French racing’s most prominent figures continue to lament the shorter trip, which was aimed at offering a more steady progression between the 8f Guineas and the 12f Arc, and it is notable that since the change no French Derby winner has gone on to score over 12f in any Group I race, never mind winning the Arc.

Another issue with the shorter trip is that the draw can play a role in a contest that is supposed to assist in the selection of the ‘best of breed’. Stalls position already has a major influence in the French Guineas, so this is of course far from ideal, though a field of 14 suggests such arbitrary allocation will not prove as pivotal on Sunday.

A horse who has already been inconvenienced by the draw is the André Fabre-trained NEW BAY, who did well to overcome a wide starting position when finishing 2nd to Make Believe in the Guineas. Unfortunately for connections he finds himself in stall 13 of 14 on Sunday, but rider Vincent Cheminaud certainly possesses the tactical acumen to see him home from there, despite his lack of experience on the flat.

What is more, horses who were placed in the French Guineas have a good record in the Derby and the way NEW BAY finished at Longchamp suggests he should have no problem with the Derby distance. With this in mind, this handsome son of Dubawi seems to have the necessary attributes to emulate Intello and gain compensation for an unfortunate Guineas run by grabbing some Jockey Club glory.

New Bay finishes fast in the French Guineas - © Alex Cairns
New Bay finishes fast in the French Guineas – © Alex Cairns

Despite NEW BAY’s positive profile, the Aga Khan’s Karaktar currently finds himself favourite, having proved untouchable in 2 outings so far this season. Being trained by Alain de Royer-Dupré, ridden by the in-form Christophe Soumillon, and sired by top middle-distance performer High Chaparral, he certainly has a great deal in his favour, though the draw has not been particularly kind (12/14) and I am happy to side with NEW BAY at the prices.

Two horses come into the Jockey Club unbeaten, namely Silverware and Sumbal.

Silverware certainly wouldn’t appear a typical Jockey Club contender, being in the care of provincial trainer Alain Couétil and ridden by the relatively unknown André Fouassier, but he has done nothing but improve and beat Group I winner Epicuris to the tune of 4 lengths when taking the Group III Prix La Force at Longchamp at the beginning of April.

Despite appearances, Sumbal’s form wouldn’t be up to the same level however, as he was gifted an easy victory in a 3-runner Prix Greffulhe when the aforementioned Epicuris was withdrawn and trainer Francis-Henri Graffard has not sounded overly confident in his pre-race comments.

It should also be noted that both unbeaten horses have shown their best on a soft surface and, with the ground at Chantilly likely to be good, may find themselves at a disadvantage.

Another horse with questions over the ground is WAR DISPATCH. With a dirt pedigree and 5 of his 6 runs having come on the fibresand, this attractive grey might not be your ‘classic’ Classic winner, but the manner in which he took the Group III Prix de Guiche on the Chantilly turf when last seen suggests he could yet defy his origins. Being trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, who knows a Derby horse when he sees one, will certainly not prove a hindrance and WAR DISPATCH will therefore be my EW punt.

Finally, I can’t sign off without mentioning the Irish contingent, as Aidan O’Brien sends an envoy of Ballydoyle’s aristocratic inmates in an attempt to land his first French Derby.

Highland Reel was well fancied for the French Guineas, but failed to make much of an impression when finishing 6th. Being by Galileo, he is entitled to improve for this step up in trip, but jockey bookings suggest he is not the yard’s first string and Joseph O’Brien has not been at his best at Chantilly in the past.

Highland Reel - © Alex Cairns
Highland Reel – © Alex Cairns

Having been campaigned solely over 6f at 2, Cape Clear Island has shown plenty of middle-distance promise this term, only giving best to André Fabre’s well-regarded Ampère in the dying strides of the 10f Prix Hocquart on 10/05. With Moore on board and a visor applied, he could well make the frame, though O’Brien’s French Derby record (1 place from 15 runners) does not bode well.

So there you have it. I am very much looking forward to getting back to the delightful surroundings of Chantilly for what should be a race to remember!

Check us out on Facebook and Instagram for video replays and full photo coverage.


New Bay – 2pts WIN at 5/1
War Dispatch – 1pt EW at 6/1

Alex @ The Winning Post.

The WP – Where every Post’s a Winning one!

PREVIEW! Le Prix du Jockey Club – 31/05/2015

A Quick Update

2008 RSA Chase winner OUR VIC on the British Racing School gallops - © Alex Cairns
2008 RSA Chase winner OUR VIC on the British Racing School gallops – © Alex Cairns

It’s been quiet on these Winning Post pages of late, but I can assure you that I haven’t lost my appetite for racing writing. In fact, it has if anything increased!

The reason for the absence is that I have been participating in the British Horseracing Authority’s Graduate Development Programme and was hence busy with 2 weeks’ training at the British Racing School in Newmarket and am now on a 2-month placement at Timeform in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Before embarking on this experience I wrote a short piece on my racing background and ambitions for Careers In Racing. You can read this here.

I have since had an incredible time in Newmarket, enjoying privileged access to prestigious yards and tracks, as well as hearing from and discussing with some of the central figures of British racing.

You can read the first part of my blog on these adventures here.

And since starting at Timeform I have been keeping up my race preview work. This week I looked at the King George and the International Handicap and will hopefully have picked out a couple of weekend winners!

Over on Facebook, I have been sharing a steady stream of photos, such as this nice number of NEW APPROACH:

NEW APPROACH plays it cool at Godolphin's Dalham Hall Stud - © Alex Cairns
NEW APPROACH plays it cool at Godolphin’s Dalham Hall Stud – © Alex Cairns

 If you haven’t already then please do LIKE the Facebook page and while you’re at it why not follow me on Twitter!

I will be getting back to regular Winning Post service once I return to France at the beginning of September and thank you for your continued support.

Have a great weekend and…


Alex @ The Winning Post.

The WP – Where every Post’s a Winning one!

A Quick Update

PREVIEW! Le Prix De Diane – 15/06/2014:

MISS FRANCE wins the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket (04/05/2014)
MISS FRANCE wins the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket (04/05/2014)

14.45 – Le Prix De Diane
(3yo, 1m 2f 96y, Group I, 12 runners)

After the Arc, the Prix de Diane at Chantilly draws the biggest crowds in French flat racing. Unfortunately, this is due as much to the concerts, fairgrounds, and fashion shows of the ‘event’ as it is to the actual racing. In fact, beyond the Diane itself, it is a relatively lowly occasion, with only 2 Group IIIs to complement the main attraction along with a collection of Handicaps, Claimers, and Conditional Jockeys’ contests.

But don’t let me dampen your enthusiasm too much as I can tell you from experience that, whether you’re interested in hats, horse racing, or both, Diane Day is a fine experience and this year’s feature race will certainly outshine the sideshow!

It seems appropriate on a day famed for its elegance and femininity that one of the favourites should be a filly named MISS FRANCE, who rose to prominence as a 2yo when winning the 2013 Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket for André Fabre.

Following this victory she shot to the top of the markets for most of the following year’s fillies’ Classics, but her reputation took a dent when she could manage only 6th in a Maisons-Laffitte Group III on her reappearance in April 2014.

However, this race was certainly not run to suit and the horses who beat her, including Group I winner Vorda and recent French 1,000 Guineas 3rd XCELLENCE, are not to be sniffed at.

In any case, Monsieur Fabre appeared unperturbed by the run and hence aimed his filly at the English 1,000 Guineas. Sent off at 7/1 for this race, she travelled sweetly and stuck on well at the finish to win by a neck from subsequent Irish Guineas 2nd Lightning Thunder.

With this form under her belt and a good break to freshen her up, she looks to have a fine chance of landing a 2nd Classic, especially as she won her Maiden at Chantilly and will have the assistance of the very capable LOCAL HERO as a pace-setter. What is more, she has been drawn in stall 1, which should allow Maxime Guyon to get her a good spot in a race in which low numbers are generally favoured.

The one question mark is whether she will stay the trip.

Unlike the traditional 1m4f distance of most Derby and Oaks-style races, the French ‘middle distance’ Classics are run over 10 and a half furlongs (2100m), but it is possible that this may still prove too much for this Dansili filly.

Though a fine racehorse and an even better sire, Dansili never won over more than a mile, but his progeny, who include King George, Grand Prix de Paris, and Arc winners, have nonetheless shown admirable stamina. And as a daughter of Miss Tahiti, who was 2nd in the 1996 Diane, MISS FRANCE could well have inherited staying quality on her dam side too. So if Fabre thinks she will stay then he’s probably right!

Currently available at 9/2, she looks likely to play a big part.

Despite MISS FRANCE’sClassic-winning profile, the filly heading the Diane market is Alain de Royer-Dupré’s SHAMKALA. Owned by the Aga Khan, who has seen his green and red colours carried to victory in this famous race on 7 occasions since 1993, this daughter of top sprinter and hugely successful sire Pivotal is unbeaten in 3 outings.

Having only made her debut last October, she is yet to have her limits tested and scored easily in the Group III Prix Cléopâtre over the Diane trip at Saint-Cloud last time out.

As a guaranteed stayer with a huge margin for progression and seemingly no going preference, SHAMKALA is a worthy favourite, even if she is yet to prove her Group I quality. But at a best price of 13/8, I prefer to take a slight risk on MISS FRANCE.

And the English 1,000 Guineas winner is not the only Classic heroine in Sunday’s field, as we also have Jean-Claude Rouget’s AVENIR CERTAIN, who took her unbeaten record to 4 when landing what looked a competitive edition of the French 1,000 Guineas in good style on 11/05.

Having only raced up to a mile on either fibresand or softish ground, we are entitled to have some doubts about this daughter of Le Havre and indeed her trainer has said, truly enough, that we won’t know if she stays … until she stays.

So with these question marks around her and a best price of 7/2, she won’t be carrying my money.

Of those at bigger prices, XCELLENCE, who was already mentioned above, and BAWINA tie in with AVENIR CERTAIN on the Guineas form. Judged on that race, it seems unlikely they will be able to challenge the principals, but BAWINA’s Guineas run does deserve marking up as she was hampered at a crucial stage before running on strongly for 4th. Jockey Olivier Peslier is also particularly sweet on her, though a draw in stall 12 of 12 will not make things easy.

And finally I must mention BALL DANCING, who was this week supplemented at a cost of €66,000 for the race. It was clearly not foreseen that this US-bred filly would have Classic aspirations, but she has shown sharp progress for trainer Pia Brandt and beat some well-touted sorts in a Listed at Longchamp over 1m3f in May before taking 2nd in the Group III Prix du Royaumont over 1m4f on French Derby day.

It remains to be seen whether she has the class for a Diane and her rivals are formidable, but we know she will stay and her under-rated trainer is very much capable of challenging her more illustrious counterparts. BALL DANCING is currently available at 25/1, but I would recommend hunting around for the biggest price you can find and having a small each-way investment.

So on a day on which elegance and femininity are to the fore, I am hoping MISS FRANCE and BALL DANCING will have an appropriately prominent position!


MISS FRANCE – 1pt WIN @ 7/2
BALL DANCING – Half pt EW @ 25/1 or the biggest you can find

Alex @ The Winning Post.

 The WP – Where every Post’s a Winning one!

PREVIEW! Le Prix De Diane – 15/06/2014:

PREVIEW! Le Prix Du Jockey Club – 01/06/2014:

Chantilly Racecourse
Chantilly Racecourse

15.15 – Le Prix du Jockey Club
(3yo, 1m 2f 96y, Group I, 16 runners) 

With the various European ‘Guineas’ races out of the way and our top 3yo milers having been crowned, the Classic generation will now have to prove their mettle upped in trip. Generally, this will be over the ‘Classic’ Derby distance of 1m4f (2,400m), but not in France…

Since 2005 the Prix du Jockey Club (or French Derby) has been run over 10 and half furlongs (2,100m). This change was made so as to allow horses to make a more gradual progression, with the 1m4f of the Arc being seen as their ultimate late-season target rather than the 1m6f of a St Leger-type race.

To me, this seems to make sense for the French programme, but, as with any change to tradition within racing it remains controversial. It has also meant that a different type of horse has come to win the Jockey Club and that the relevant trials have also changed.

One race that retains its former importance is of course the Poule d’essai des poulains (French 2,000 Guineas). The Poulains was this year won by 2013 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère victor KARAKONTIE, who saw off Prestige Vendôme by a neck.

Though many were left unimpressed by this performance, we can see from KARAKONTIE’s record that he generally only does enough to win and he fought on tenaciously at the finish to leave me thinking he will enjoy a couple of extra furlongs. Also, he is currently available at 6/1 and therefore looks a prime EW option.

Prestige Vendôme, the Poulains runner-up is also worthy of note, but he has now been beaten twice by the selection and on pedigree is seemingly unlikely to see out the distance.

The horse that is currently favourite for the Jockey Club is the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Prince Gibralatar and this Rock Of Gibraltar colt certainly looks likely to be a big player having romped away with the Group I Criterium de Saint-Cloud at the end of his 2yo season and returned this term with an authoritative victory in the Group II Prix Greffulhe.

Both these prestigious races are run over 10f so he should have no problem with the Derby’s distance and hails from an in-form yard who know how to land a big prize.

With regular partner Christophe Soumillon retained on the Aga Khan’s Shamkiyr it is veteran jockey Gérald Mossé who will take the ride, but this is far from a negative as Monsieur Mossé is a cool head with 3 Jockey Clubs already to his name.

In all, Prince Gibraltar is a worthy favourite and it is only his short price that stops me selecting him.

One horse whose price has certainly caught my eye is FREE PORT LUX, who has progressed steadily this season under the tutelage of Freddie Head and took the Group II Prix Hocquart over 11f at Longchamp on 11/04.

Though this race has not had a great deal of impact on the Jockey Club in recent years, it is nonetheless a recognised trial and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Adelaide, whom FREE PORT LUX beat into 2nd in the Hocquart, has since come out and won a Group III at the Curragh in some style. At 14/1, FREE PORT LUX merits an interest.

Speaking of interest, there will be a lot surrounding The Grey Gatsby tomorrow as he bids to become the first foreign-trained winner of the Jockey Club since Shamardal in 2005.

The Kevin Ryan-trained grey has thus far proved potent in trial races, but failed to show his best at the top level. I fear he may again miss out tomorrow, though the assistance of Ryan Moore is an obvious bonus.

Of the other runners Galiway could surprise a few having been running on well when 5th in the Poulains, while Jean-Claude Rouget has another notable chance with the unbeaten Gonna Run, who has yet to even contest a Group race, but looks an animal of real potential.

So these are the likely protagonists in the annual drama of the Jockey Club and I encourage you to tune in to see these distinguished performers light up the famous Chantilly stage.


Karakontie – 2pts EW at 6/1
Free Port Lux – 1pt EW at 14/1

 Alex @ The Winning Post.

 The WP – Where every Post’s a Winning one!

PREVIEW! Le Prix Du Jockey Club – 01/06/2014: