The Group 1 Prix Royal Oak is the feature race at Chantilly on Sunday where nine runners will do battle. The standout performer in the field is the Aidan O’Brien trained Flag Of Honour who has already won a Group 1 this season when taking the Irish St Leger. The supremely bred son of Galileo has shown marked improvement since being stepped up in distance and ran respectably when finishing fourth behind top stayer Stradivarius in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day.
British raider Brundtland may prove the biggest threat to Aidan O’Brien’s stayer, who is a bit of an unknown quantity having only run four times. Charlie Appleby’s colt has won on each of these occasions and has progressed quickly through the grades, with his last two victories being in Group 2 events at Longchamp. Brundtland claimed a notable scalp when beating Hunting Horn in the first of these Group Two’s victories.
Given how he stayed on when last seen in action, the 1 Mile 7 furlongs trip of the Prix Royal Oak looks sure to suit and a first Group 1 may lie in wait for this exciting stayer.
Holdthasigreen has form figures of 1122 on his last four starts which highlights how consistent the son of Hold That Tiger has been this season. The final run came over the extreme 2 Mile 4-furlong distance in the Group 1 Prix Du Cardan at Longchamp behind Call The Wind. A reproduction of this run would give him a live chance but I feel others may hold better chances.
Max Dynamite was well behind Holdthasigreen in the Prix Du Cardan but prior to that, he emerged on the wrong side of a thriller with his stablemate Thomas Hobson in the Doncaster Cup. Again you’d like to think there are more progressive horses in the race but he does have an outside chance given his obvious class.
The final member of the raiding party is the Andrew Balding-trained Horseplay, who has only been out of the first two once this season and that came in a strong looking renewal of the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks. She won the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks earlier in the season and was last seen losing out to God Given by a neck in the Park Hill Stakes. This is strong looking form but I think she will struggle now taking on the opposite sex for the first time.