Horse-by-horse guide to the French Oaks at Chantilly featuring Shutter Speed

Rhododendron
Rhododendron

We profile the 16 horses set to face the starter in Sunday's Prix de Diane Longines (French Oaks) at Chantilly.

Shutter Speed - Form: 1-11 (J Gosden, L Dettori)


Trainer and jockey combined to win this two years ago and they have obvious claims of scoring again with the unbeaten daughter of Dansili. Taken the same path as their 2015 Diane winner Star Of Seville although unlike that filly Shutter Speed bypassed Epsom due to stamina concerns with this trip deemed to be her optimum. She had Epsom Oaks winner and stablemate Enable behind when winning at Newbury and possesses outstanding form claims.

Normandie - Form: 421-8 (Mme P Brandt, G Benoist)


Bred to come into her own over middle distances this season but a long way behind Monroe Bay on her reappearance and any amount to find on form.

Monroe Bay - Form: 1 -201 (P Bary, G Mosse)


Went close on her reappearance in a Group Three (sent off favourite) but ran no race in the Group One Prix Saint-Alary - won by Sobetsu - next time. A drop in grade and the fitting of blinkers saw her get her head back in front but enough to prove in this company following that Deauville flop.

Haya Of Fortune - Form: 3-741 (N Leenders, T Bachelot)


Progressed to win a Chantilly handicap last time but that's a long way away from this test.

Senga - Form: 214 -103 (P Bary, S Pasquier)


Useful juvenile who signed off for the season with a close-up fourth in the Group One Marcel Boussac at this venue. Failed to build on a winning reappearance when down the field in the French Guineas but took a step back in the right direction last time in a race which the winner stole from the front. Shapes as though this longer trip will bring about some improvement and holds minor claims.

Kitesurf - Form: 3121 (A Fabre, M Barzalona)


First foal of a middle distance Group Three winner by Dubawi so she certainly looks the part on paper. Stepped up on a promising debut to win her maiden and posted a career best last time in the Group Three Prix de Royaumont over 12 furlongs, finishing strongly. That raises questions about this drop in trip, especially if they don't go a gallop, but she is improving with racing.

Onethemoonagain - Form: 113-1 (J-C Rouget, C Soumillon)


Yard has won three of the last five and four of the last eight renewals and that alone means that the chances of this Cape Cross filly have to be taken seriously. Brought along steadily last season before stepping up to Group Three company where she came up short behind Richard Fahey's Melesina but doing best of those held-up. Impressive on her reappearance and bits and pieces of collateral form suggest she won't be found wanting in this company.

Bet on the race with Sky Bet now - paying FOUR PLACES each-way along with PRICE BOOSTS on Rhodedendron and Shutter Speed

Yellow Storm - Form: 0- (A Couetil, M Eon)


Last of 10 in sole start in Listed contest but connections should enjoy their day out and she helps to make a slice of history with Maryline Eon set to become the first woman to ride in this Classic.

Mademoiselle Marie - Form: 11-265 (K Borgel, T Piccone)


Two juvenile wins included a Listed contest and she went close at that level on her reappearance but has since been exposed at Group Three level, including behind Terrakova last time.

Vue Fantastique - Form: 2-242  (F Chappet, O Peslier)


Still a maiden but chased home Sobetsu in a Group One last time despite not enjoying a clear run. Appreciated the step up to 10 furlongs that day and open to improvement at this trip; dangerous to assume that run was a flash in the pan and she could shake-up better fancied rivals again but a stout pedigree suggests a stiffer test may suit ideally.

Rhododendron - Form: 21131-22 (A P O'Brien, R L Moore)


Leading juvenile hasn't had things fall right this season, finding some trouble in running in the Guineas at Newmarket before filling the same spot in the Oaks. Possible that travel problems on raceday didn't help but it seems more likely that stamina failed her and this trip could be tailor made. Leading form claims but possible that Epsom may have left a mark.  

Panthelia - Form: 162 (P Sogorb, J-B Eyquem)


Easy winner on debut before disappointing favourite backers in a Listed race won by Onthemoonagain. Left that effort behind when making Terrakova work to land the spoils at Saint-Cloud, enjoying the run of the race from on the pace, but she lacked the pace of her rival that day and stamina laden pedigree points to her being more at home over further.

Turf Laurel - Form: 22-5 (S Kobayashi, C Demuro)


A maiden who was in front of Onthemoonagain on her final two year-old start but she'll need to leave the form of her reappearance a long way behind to figure here.

Festive - Form: 1340 (E Saint-Martin, J Auge)


Beat one home in the French Guineas at 80/1. Longer trip may help but not by that much.

Terrakova - Form: 1-1 (F Head, M Guyon)


Has always been in the spotlight as a daughter of the brilliant Goldikova but is quickly building her own fanbase. Freddy Head won this race four times as a jockey but is still awaiting his first success as a trainer so there would be emotional scenes if Terrakova can follow up her victory in the Group Three Prix Cleopatra where she showed a willing attitude and good turn of foot and he is more than hopeful of a big run.

Sistercharlie - Form: 1-411 (H-A Pantall, P-C Boudot)


Cheap purchase with a relatively unfashionable pedigree but is progressing with racing and reversed the form of her reappearance when beating Listen In at Group Three level last time. The third went on to finish about a length further adrift of Terrakova on her next start and Sistercharlie clearly has ground to make up but she is progressing and can't be dismissed out of hand.

Verdict


There's plenty of dead wood in this contest but the race is no less intriguing for that with raiders Shutter Speed and RHODODENDRON up against the exciting Terrakova.

Those three dominate the market but Jean-Claude Rouget has dominated recent renewals and Onthemoonagain is among the more interesting outsiders and it's worth remembering that the stable's La Cressonniere, who won last year's Diane, made a successful step up to Group One company from Listed level in the French Guineas.

It's far from inconceivable that Onthemoonagain could follow suit while Senga and Kitesurf are others to make some each-way appeal but the big three do look very solid.

The market is struggling to split Shutter Speed and Rhododendron but the Oaks runner-up has achieved more (from greater opportunities) and it's possible to argue that she should be the outright favourite as a result; consequently she gets the nod.

1. Rhododendron
2. Shutter Speed
3. Terrakova
4. Onthemoonagain


Bet on the race with Sky Bet now - paying FOUR PLACES each-way along with PRICE BOOSTS on Rhodedendron and Shutter Speed


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