Timeform French Preview: Heartache the one to beat

Kool Kompany won the Prix Robert Papin for Richard Hannon
Kool Kompany won the Prix Robert Papin for Richard Hannon

Timeform preview the Prix Robert Papin which takes place at Maisons-Laffitte on Sunday.

"...trained by Richard Hannon, who won this race in 2014 with Kool Kompany and 2015 with Gutaifan..."

The strong, well-made Frozen Angel is by Dark Angel, the Mill Reef and Middle Park winner who was retired after his two-year-old season, but who has already made a big impact as a stallion, including siring 40 two-year-old winners last season. Frozen Angel's dam, Cut No Ice, was a two-year-old 5f winner herself, so it's no surprise that Frozen Angel has looked a sharp sprinter, winning a minor event at Ascot (by three and a quarter lengths from Corinthia Knight) in May and value for extra when two and three quarter lengths fourth of 17 to Sioux Nation in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. He should have no problem with the extra half a furlong here - his half sister, the very smart Pipalong, was a winner up to 6f - but arguably needs to improve to beat the pick of these.

The mantle of 'the one to beat' belongs to the Clive Cox-trained Heartache. She won an eight-runner minor event on debut at Bath (by six lengths from Fab) in May, and duly improved when following up in the 23-runner Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot (by two and a half lengths from the Wesley Ward-trained Happy Like A Fool) last time, staying on strongly in the final 1f and well on top at the finish. Like Frozen Angel, she is the first foal of a 5f winner, however there is stamina in the pedigree of her dam Place In My Heart, who is a half-sister to the smart winner up to 1m Leitrim House, while Heartache's grandam Lonely Heart was a 1¼m winner for David Elsworth. Cox has had plenty of success in France, winning this race with Reckless Abandon in 2012 and Tis Marvellous last year, and having issued a positive bulletin about Heartache this week, she rates the clear one to catch.

Two other British challengers will contest this Group 2 prize - which, like many other major races in France this year features a small field - and De Bruyne Horse looks a major contender. Trained by Richard Hannon, who won this race in 2014 with Kool Kompany and 2015 with Gutaifan, De Bruyne Horse won minor events at Ripon in May and Epsom (by two lengths from subsequent July Stakes winner Cardsharp) in June and was then a creditable eighth, beaten just over two lengths, in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was below form when four and a half lengths fourth to Beckford in the Railway Stakes at the Curragh last time, though, and needs to bounce back here. The Karl Burke-trained colt Unfortunately completes the British quartet; he won a minor event at Hamilton in May, but the form of his second in a listed race here in June and when filling the same position at Pontefract last time, leaves him with plenty to find.

The Italian raider Ipompieridiviggiu is hard to weigh up, but he was an impressive winner of the Group 3 Premio Primi Passi at Milan last time and, on the face of it, that is form which puts him on a par with all of his rivals here, perhaps with the exception of Heartache. High Dream Milena won a newcomers maiden at Chantilly last month and is quickly thrown into the deep end here by Criquette Head-Maarek, who won this race in 2009 with Special Duty. High Dream Milena looked a promising filly there but, having beaten a bunch of unraced horses, the form is difficult to analyse, especially in the context of this race. She is by the first-season sire Dabirsim, winner of the Prix Morny during his unbeaten two-year-old season, who has already made a big impression at stud; another French-trained filly, Different League, provided him with a first Group winner when landing the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

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