Not long to go until the final Group One of the French Flat season, the Prix Royal Oak, a staying contest off at 2.50pm UK time.
I think there’s a good angle to this as the progressive Al Nayyir heralds from unfashionable connections and his form is arguably stronger than it first looks. Sure, the son of Dubawi has not stepped into this company before, but he looks just about the best stayer in France right now and has been targeted at this race.
Al Nayyir handles heavy conditions and has winning form over this trip. Tashkan could make this a real test from the front and rates as the principal danger to my selection, but there is plenty of encouragement to take from Al Nayyir’s pedigree if this gets really tough: he’s a half-brother to St Leger runner-up New London and you don’t have to look far to find Masked Marvel in the same page, the winner of the Leger in 2011.
Metier can go well fresh but this risks being a lot on his plate for his reappearance. The 8-1 shot also has 4kg to find with the favourites on ratings.
The Good Man, priced at 11/2, is another strong stayer but even his trainer acknowledges that he’s a much better horse in the spring. He’s only won one race from 14 after August 1st, a provincial maiden.
Al Nayyir is a confident bet at 5-1 and I expect he’ll be well-backed just before the race.
2.50pm Longchamp – 1.5pt win Al Nayyir @ 5-1 (generally available, though I’d back him each-way with Sky Bet’s four places if I could get on there)