A Modern Phenomenon At Chantilly


Modern Games | Scoop Dyga


While only Sea the Stars (Ire) has been able to win a 2000 Guineas and Derby in the same year since Nashwan did it in 1989, there have been four colts able to carry their superior miling speed over the 10 1/2-furlong trip of the new “French Derby” at Chantilly and complete the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains-G1 Prix du Jockey Club double. While the purists rave on without end about the fact that the initiative to shave the distance from a mile and a half means that the Qatar-sponsored Classic is “no longer a Derby”, France has itself a unique brace of contests which appeals as diverse and individualistic. Few would argue that Shamardal would have stayed 12 furlongs well enough to win the old version and nor would his son Lope de Vega (Ire), or Brametot (Ire) (Rajsaman {Fr}) or St Mark's Basilica (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}). So the dramatic move to break tradition in 2005 has undeniably achieved what it set out to do and the latest to attempt the double on Sunday is Godolphin's Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}).


Rain, Rain, Stay Away

Charlie Appleby's season goes from strength-to-strength and Modern Games has already played a key role with his May 15 Poulains victory providing the middle part of an unprecedented European 2000 Guineas treble for Godolphin. Strong at the mile at ParisLongshamp, as he had been at Del Mar, he is bred to get this trip but if the ground turns testing it may stretch the elastic too far. “Modern Games heads back to France in great order. He is the horse in the field with the Classic credentials behind him and we are looking forward to seeing him over this distance, which we feel is within his compass,” his trainer said. “We are slightly on weather watch with the rain, but hopefully they don't get too much. It would obviously be a negative if it became soft, because he prefers a quicker surface and it would start to bring stamina into play.”


The Rising Star Contingent

Heading the opposition to Modern Games are the TDN Rising Stars Onesto (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) and Lassaut (Fr) (Almanzor {Fr}), with the former sporting Jean-Pierre-Joseph Dubois's silks and the latter representing Riviera Equine SARL and Haras d'Etreham. Onesto emerged as a force to be reckoned with when dominating the G2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud May 8 and while he has a horror draw, he is one who can be switched off and produced late. Lassaut, who beat the Poulains third Tribalist (GB) (Farhh {GB}) over a mile here Mar. 9 before taking a conditions event at ParisLongchamp Apr. 21, was an eye-catching fifth behind Modern Games in the Classic and is bred to come into his own over this longer trip.


Three More For Rouget

Alongside Lassaut, Jean-Claude Rouget also saddles a pair of Al Shaqab colourbearers in the Apr. 17 G3 Prix de Fontainebleau winner Welwal (GB) (Shalaa {Ire}) and May 3 Listed Prix de Suresnes winner Al Hakeem (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}), who suffered reverse fortunes when the draw was redone on Thursday. Welwal, who was sixth in the Poulains, lacks the obvious stamina leaning in his pedigree that Al Hakeem enjoys so a revised low draw will have helped his cause. Rouget's other major player is The Aga Khan's impressive May 10 G3 Prix de Guiche scorer Vadeni (Fr) (Churchill {Ire}), who has the advantage of stall two but needs a strong pace to run at.


The Supporting Cast

Sunday's undercard boasts the signature G2 Grand Prix de Chantilly, where Sheikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Thani's progressive May 12 G3 Prix d'Hedouville scorer Mutabahi (Fr) (French Fifteen {Fr}) meets last year's G1 Prix Ganay hero Mare Australis (Ire) (Australia {GB}); the G2 Prix de Sandringham with Lael Stable's G1 Criterium International third Purplepay (Fr) (Zarak {Fr}) taking centre stage; the G3 Prix de Royaumont playing host to Ecurie Ama Zingteam's May 15 Listed Prix de la Seine winner Hidden Dimples (Ire) (Frankel {GB}); the G2 Prix du Gros-Chene featuring the unexposed Joseph O'Brien-trained Listed Sole Power Sprint S.-winning 3-year-old filly Brostaigh (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}); and the Listed Prix la Fleche for the juveniles in which Vicious Harry (Fr) looks to provide Harry Angel (Ire) with a first black-type winner.

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