The Irish Derby winner Hurricane Lane contests the Grand Prix de Paris this evening. Patrick Weaver previews the Longchamp card...
"Much as I like Alenquer, I've got to side with Hurricane Lane as he is a Group One winner with proven stamina."
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the latest renewal of the Grand Prix de Paris at 19:20 is one of the best in recent years.
The line-up includes the first and third in the Irish Derby - Hurricane Lane and Wordsworth; the fourth and fifth in the French Derby - Saiydabad and Cheshire Academy; the first two in the trial for today's race, Northern Ruler and Bubble Gift and the Royal Ascot winner Alenquer.
Only Hurricane Lane's best will do to follow up
Although Alenquer beat the subsequent Derby winner, Adayer, half a length over 10 furlongs at Sandown in the spring - and Hurricane Lane finished two places behind that one at Epsom - the latter has since won the Irish Derby. That Classic success means he is understandably favourite despite Alenquer going on to win the King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot.
You can also use the Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle as a yardstick to conclude Alenquer is better value at 100/30 than Hurricane Lane is at 11/8. Lone Eagle was beaten a neck at The Curragh but was four and a half lengths behind Alenquer at Sandown.
Wordsworth, third at the Curragh after an honorable second in the Queen's Vase, looks the pick of Aidan O'Brien's three, while Saiydabad could prove best of the home squad.
The Aga Khan's runner lost his unbeaten record in the French Derby but finished well to take fourth behind St Mark's Basilica, a length in front of Cheshire Academy. The latter starts the day shorter, which surprises me as Saiydabad would appear to have the greater scope for improvement.
Northern Ruler's defeat of Bubble Gift last time was a surprise. Their respective odds were 19/2 and Evens.
Their respective odds of 18/1 and 25/1 today indicate the weak nature of that trial for today's race. Neither looks likely to be placed in this hotter contest.
Much as I like Alenquer, I've got to side with Hurricane Lane as he is a Group One winner with proven stamina.
Alenquer is likely to give him a run for his money though, and Wordsworth is worth an each-way interest at 14/1.
Love Child can gain a deserved first Group success
The Group 2 Prix de Malleret at 18:45 is for three-year-old fillies over 12 furlongs.
The last two home in the French Oaks, Khalidya and Natsukashi, are in the line-up but they ran too badly to be considered in this race. That said, they tick the right boxes on their form prior to Chantilly.
The best Group 1 form is on Love Child's CV. Andre Fabre's filly was fifth to Incarville in the Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary with her stablemate Anasia nine lengths back 10th of 11.
That is the best Longchamp form on offer - albeit over 10 furlongs - but she should stay a mile and a half as her half-brother, Brundtland, won a Group 2 over the course and distance in 2018 with James Doyle up before winning over a mile and seven at Longchamp for William Buick.
Cima Star, by Sea The Stars, was second to Eulaila in the Italian Oaks over a furlong shorter. She passed all bar the winner in the home straight and was running on at the finish. She's one to consider each-way, for sure.
Ricla is a Listed winner over course and distance that was placed in a Group 3 prior to that.
I'd like to say Joseph Tuite-trained Via Sistina is best of the rest but she isn't. The form of her Goodwood win hasn't worked out that well, though the second, Chiasma, has won at Kempton since. Via Sistina is a promising work in progress but this is a big step up in class from her last run.
Valia to gain her revenge on Skazino
The third Group race on the card is the Prix Radio FG at 19:55 over a mile and three-quarters.
The 2/1 joint-favourites are the first two home in the Group 2 Prix Vicomtesse Vigier here in May - Skazino and Valia.
Valia is 6lb better off for two lengths so on the face of it should come out on top. She closed last season with a success at this level over the Arc weekend and followed that up with a close second to Subjectivist, which won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last month.
Staying form doesn't get much better than that.
This time last year, Skazino was plying his trade at Vichy and Compiegne. No-one would have thought he could improve 8lb and go on to win a Listed, a Group 3 and a Group 2.
He is on the up, for sure, and Christophe Soumillon will have to have his wits about him to spike Skazino's guns.
The Godolphin runner Sublimis is only half a point behind Valia and Skazino, but he is unproven at the trip and has yet to win in this grade. I don't see why he is 5/2. I wouldn't back him at double those odds.