Longchamp 7.20

Selection: Cheshire Academy 6/1

The Grand Prix de Paris has produced some epic editions over the years and Aidan O’Brien has managed to capture the last three! The Ballydoyle maestro has three runners in this year’s renewal but they’ll have to come on leaps and bounds to get involved here with some exciting talents heading the market.

Hurricane Lane has earned his place as market leader having put up an almighty display to reel in Lone Eagle late on in the Irish Derby. He previously took the Dante before finishing a solid third in the Epsom equivalent, despite having lost both fore shoes, and there’s every chance that the striking chestnut colt is capable of improving further.

Alenquer sits behind Hurricane Lane in the betting but holds some of the strongest form lines in racing, having beaten subsequent Derby winner Adayar, recent Group 3 winner Yibir and Irish Derby-second Lone Eagle at Sandown back in April, and recently followed up impressively in the mud when taking the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. He still has to step up to compete with Hurricane Lane but given he’s only been beaten the once, it’s far from inconceivable.

Saiydabad and Cheshire Academy both featured in the Prix Du Jockey Club last time out, finishing fourth and fifth respectively behind none other than recent Coral Eclipse winner St Mark’s Basilica. I was convinced St Mark’s Basilica had the run of the race and might have been flattered by the performance, but looking at the way he won the Eclipse, he’s clearly just an exceptionally talented animal.

On that basis, these two put up massive performances the last day, as both broke slowly, settling in last and second last all the way until straightening up. They went a decent clip so it’s easy to believe the race may have fallen into their laps but the pair both flew home from uncompromising positions and really caught the eye, given they were attempting to pass the majority of a 19-runner field.

I have Cheshire Academy ahead of Saiydabad on the basis that Cheshire Academy broke from 19 of 19 and attempted to circle the field in the straight, coming seven or eight off of the rail to mount his challenge. Saiydabad was also the much lesser fancied of the Aga Khan pair that day, with Soumillon opting to partner the third favourite Makaloun.

Sir Lamorak really could be anything now upped into Group company for the first time, as he’s put up some huge weight-carrying performances in handicap company. The son of Camelot won two on the bounce, breaking his maiden at Dundalk before scoring impressively at Leopardstown, and in good time, in April, but wasn’t quite able to get up last time out in the King George V Stakes when giving away plenty of weight and coming from well off of the pace. Fascinating contender.

I think Hurricane Lane would be the one to beat but, given the nature of his last run, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he ran below par today. I also think we could see a much steadier test here than he’s encountered recently, and I’m not convinced that that would play to the Godolphin charge’s strengths as he looks a real galloper and might be caught out by something with a turn of foot, especially if this turns into the sprint that I think it could do. With that in mind, I’m siding with Jean-Claude Rouget’s runner CHESHIRE ACADEMY, who endured a nightmare trip in the Prix du Jockey Club but displayed a real engine to finish where he did. Now upped in trip, he could put that change of gear to good use and might just be good enough to take this.

For the 1-2-3, I think it’s between Cheshire Academy and Hurricane Lane, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sir Lamorak chases them home.

Set to be a corker!

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