French Racing Tips: Harajuku appeals in Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary

Group 1 action at Longchamp
There's a cracking card at Longchamp where the top French 10-furlong fillies contest the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary

The French Group 1 action switches to the Flat today at Longchamp. Patrick Weaver previews the nine-race card and has a few choice bets...

"German form can be underrated and so it has proved here with the recent Munich winner Lambo being backed from his initial price of 15/2 into 4/1. He goes in the soft, and crucially isn't penalised for that Group 3 victory."

There are three English-trained runners at Longchamp today but none in the main race, the Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary at 14:50.

The Group 1 for three-year-old fillies over 10 furlongs was won last year by Tawkeel, a filly that had won at Cagnes and Pau over the winter and not run at two. That is not the norm, though, and the market leaders are all tried and tested in and around Paris.

The filly with the highest rating, 3lb ahead of the rest, is Harajuku. One of three trained by Andre Fabre, she was at her very best last time at Saint-Cloud beating Incarville just over a length in the Group 3 Prix Cleopatre. That was over a little further so she ticks the stamina box, as well as being in form.

She has not done as well at Longchamp as some of the others, though. That includes the two other Group 3 winners in the line-up, Rumi and Cirona.

Rumi took the Prix Ventoux here from another Frankel filly, Petricor, last month. The week before she had finished behind Harajuku in the Prix Durban at Saint-Cloud.

Cirona's Group 3 victory was in the Prix Grotte over a mile here, one place better than when she finished just ahead of Sky Sister and Anasia in the Prix Des Reservoirs at Deauville last October.

Sibila Spain is the joker in the pack, in that she has won two minor races in the style of a good filly but hasn't beaten anything of note. The fillies behind her at Lyon and Saint-Cloud are rated in the 75-80 zone, whereas Harajuku is 106 and Rumi, Incarville, Sky Sister and Rumi are on 103.

That Sibila Spain is second favourite is down to her undoubted potential and her pedigree; she is by Frankel and a full sister to Master Of Reality which has done really well for Joseph O'Brien.

I'll go with Harajuku and seeing as she is 6/1, it makes sense to back her each-way.

Raiku can topple the favourite in the opener

The Prix de Pontarme kicks off the card at 12:58. The Evens favourite is Godolphin's Erasmo, runner-up in a Listed and a Group 3 this spring.

Second in the betting is the 15/4 shot Raiku who was heading for the 2,000 Guineas until only coming sixth in his Classic trial. The winner, though, went on to finish fourth in the big one, just ahead of Poetic Flare, who was runner-up in Saturday's Irish 2,000 at the Curragh and had previously won at the first colts' Classic of the year at Newmarket.

It may be wishful thinking but I reckon Raiku is good enough to beat the favourite.

Henri Pantall can saddle the next two home, Live and Wooturn. The pair have won their last two races but this is a step up in grade for them and they will need to improve to complete a hat-trick.

Underrated Lambo can roast his rivals

Six of the eight runners in the Group 2 Prix Hocquart at 13:33 won last time out.

German form can be underrated and so it has proved here with the recent Munich winner Lambo being backed from his initial price of 15/2 into 4/1. He goes in the soft, and crucially isn't penalised for that Group 3 victory.

I liked the way Media Stream beat Alessandro at Saint-Cloud last time but this is a better race. He had previously finished a length behind Gregolimo here in the Group 3 Prix Noailles and it should be close again as Andre Fabre's runners generally improve from April to May.

Calgary is three from three, with minor wins at the two Marseilles tracks before scoring at Lyon Parilly where Shut The Box was over five lengths back in fifth.

Lambo was twice Calgary's odds last night but the gap has closed. For me, a Munich Group 3 success trumps three provincial wins in lesser company every time. At 4/1 Lambo makes more appeal.

Dubai World Cup third can regain winning thread

The betting for the Prix de Montretout at 15:25 is in sync with the form book.

William Knight has found a good opportunity for Sir Busker to bank his first win since taking the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot last June. He subsequently ran second in the Ladbrokes Celebration Mile at Goodwood and fourth in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot on soft in October.

He ran well enough on his return last month - again at Ascot - to make him a worthy favourite today.

Godolphin's Magny Cours will be a tough nut to crack, though. He made all over a mile last June to floor his odds-on stablemate Persian King, since when he has been campaigned over 10 furlongs, his best run being when third in the Dubai World Cup.

The two are hard to split but my head must rule my heart, so it's Magny Cours and Mickael Barzalona for me. They might just outstay Sir Busker by setting off in front and not getting caught.

In passing, have a look at Irska. She is a Group 3 winner on heavy, and wasn't beaten far in the Group 1 Qatar Prix De La Foret here on Arc day. I would have put her in at 10/1 rather than 25/1, and have had a little each-way on her this morning.

The last of the non-handicaps is the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier at 16:35.

Red Verdon and The Grand Visir have come over for the Group 2 stayers' race and I wouldn't want to put you off backing them each-way. Neither wins that often, and not since last summer, but they are regularly placed. The Grand Visir was most recently runner-up in the tote+ Chester Cup, and it takes a tough nut to crack that competitive handicap.

Skazino's recent Group 3 success here from Sheraz and Karlarina is probably better form than The Grand Visir's Chester second but there's not a lot in it. Valia's second to Mark Johnston's star stayer Subjectivist in the Group 1 Prix Royal Oak here at the end of October arguably trumps them both.

I expect Valia to win, given she gets the trip in very soft ground, but I wouldn't rush in for the 11/8 given this is her first run for seven months.

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