Our man in France Jason Kiely has caught up with leading French jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot ahead of today’s Group One card at Saint-Cloud.
In scintillating form of late, Boudot is over thirty winners clear at the head of the jockeys' championship and has a strong book of rides at the Parisian track this afternoon, including Way To Paris who could claim a first Group One success if landing the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud - the feature race on the 10-race card. The 27-year-old rider offers his opinion on some of his more interesting mounts on what could be a lucrative afternoon in Paris.
Way To Paris on the way to top
At seven years of age they don’t come much tougher than Way To Paris. The gallant grey who has so often been the bridesmaid looks to have landed the perfect opportunity to take a maiden success at Group One level in today’s Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. Although Boudot will partner the Andrea Marcialis-trained horse for only the fourth time the pair have built up a fruitful relationship and the jockey is hoping to clinch the victory at the top level with his new partner this afternoon
"I really hope Way To Paris will be able to win his first Group One this weekend," said Boudot. "He really merits it, he is really likeable and so courageous. He was extremely brave last time out in the Ganay and came there with a really strong attack. Unfortunately we were just held at the finish by Sottsass, although Way To Paris confirmed from that race is that he really has what it takes to win a group one."
The Prix Ganay was contested over 2,100m (a distance too short for Way To Paris) and Boudot feels that today’s race conditions should be an advantage, but he is slightly concerned about the timeframe in which his mount has had to recuperate from such a strong run last time out.
“He goes back up to 2,400m this weekend which is without doubt the best distance for him and gives us every chance of winning. I just hope that this race has not come too soon as he only ran a few weeks ago and he has already ran four times this year, but he seems in great form in the mornings and is in the form of his life this season,” said Boudot who landed this race in 2017 on Arc hero Waldgeist.
It could become a tactical affair as only five runners head to post for this year’s renewal of the €240,000 contest and the pace angle may come from 2019 runner-up Ziyad. According to Boudot the small field shouldn’t pose any issues to Way To Paris although he will be paying close attention to his rivals.
"I would assume that a horse like Ziyad will go on in front and that will suit Way of Paris who is a hold up horse that has quite a good turn of foot, he has run well from the back every time I have ridden him so we won’t be changing the tactics. Old Persian will be difficult to beat and has some top-class form but Way To Paris comes into this with a fitness edge and I hope he can get his head in front."
Persian can regain crown in Muguet
One of the most hyped horses in training in France Persian King made his return from injury with a decent run when finishing second in the Prix de Montretout 18 days ago. The Andre Fabre-trained colt showed much of his old sparkle and was only just denied by stable mate Magny Cours when in much need of a pipe opener according to Boudot who has partnered the four-year-old in every one of his career starts to date including a devastating success in the 2019 French 2000 Guineas and suggests that this afternoon's race may be another steeping stone towards future targets.
He said: "That comeback run has brought him on a lot, he really needed it and I was happy with him.
"I think this Sunday’s race is the perfect next step between that and the Prix d’Ispahan In three weeks’ time. Hopefully we can back to winning ways here and if all goes well then the Ispahan would be the way he will go."
As he is getting on in years the mile is probably a shade on the short side for four-year-old Persian King and the Prix d’Ispahan will be ran over 1,850m but Boudot is not concerned about the distance or the small field size of today’s group two contest.
"The mile isn’t exactly a problem for him he has plenty of speed and he showed that on his comeback. Only five runners should be fine, he has got a lot of action and I will just leave him find his rhythm wherever that may be, in any case I envisage a good run from Persian King."
Skaletti is one of the four rivals to Persian King and is a horse Pierre-Charles knows well having ridden him in most of his recent starts. He expects the Jerome Renyier charge to be a strong challenger along with Pretreville from the Pascal Bary stable who merits extreme respect according to the crack rider.
"Skaletti is a very good horse, I have ridden him plenty of times and he has done very little wrong throughout his career and surely needed comeback run. He is certainly a danger but we must not forget about Pretreville who won very pleasantly last time out and looks like a very nice horse indeed," said Boudot.
Another listed success on the cards for Arapaho
Having just fallen short of Group One level when finishing sixth last time out in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains the Andre Fabre-trained Arapaho looks to have a strong chance of getting back on the scoreboard and is a warm favourite for the Prix de Saint-Patrick and is given the vote of confidence by Boudot on what looks one of his strongest rides of the day
"Arapaho was sixth in the Poule and he is probably just a shade below the top level. He has already shown us he is well up to winning a listed race and I am sure he can even be a group horse, he is back in his category here. He has two kilos of a penalty for that listed win but looking at the field before the race I think he has a huge chance, he handled the mile well the last time out and he has won here before – all the signs are good. I really hope that he can get back to winning ways and I will be very disappointed if he is not right there," said the 27-year-old.
Perhaps takes a step up but is not without a chance
The combination of trainer Francis-Henri Graffard and P-C Boudot has been an incredibly effective duo throughout the previous number of seasons especially in the fillies division and the two share and interest once again as Perhaps lines up for today’s final listed race the Prix Volerra (16.00).
Disappointing on her debut Perhaps left that effort far behind her when taking a maiden in Vichy a few weeks ago. Still showing plenty signs of greenness that day Perhaps will have to produce a career best to take this listed race but Boudot expects the Al Shaqab-owned filly to show her class.
"Perhaps done it nicely at Vichy and now she takes a large step up in category, she still needs to gain some experience and still has a very immature style of running. We are hoping to see lots of progression in this race and if we could finish in the top three that would be great -if she wins then even better.
"No matter what she does here she should learn from it, she is a quality filly and I am sure there are a few nice days to be had with her."
We are committed in our support of responsible gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.