Prix de Royallieu 2013 Preview / Tips
The Royallieu is a mile and a half Group 2 for fillies and mares, aged three and up. It has been dominated by three and four year olds, to the extent that no horse older than that has won since at least 1974. Indeed, three-year-olds have won all bar ten of the last 38 renewals.
This year, the field of ten comprises only three- and four-year-olds.
The Brits have fared all right in this event, winning in 2007 and 2011, and are double-handed this time, with Riposte and the unbeaten Pomology standing their ground.
Of that pair, Riposte has the best level of form, accentuated by her poignant Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes win at Royal Ascot, just days after the passing of Sir Henry Cecil. Since that success, however, she's trailed in down the field in a pair of Group 1 contests. Granted, they were higher class affairs than this but the margin of defeat, especially on her most recent run, makes it a leap of faith to support her here.
Pomology looks the likeliest of the British lasses to continue her three-match career unbeaten run.
Trained by Johnny G(osden), no stranger to Longchamp glory, Pomology has already acquired a taste for Gallic galloping, having struck in a Group 3 at Deauville over the same extended mile and a half as the Royallieu. Ground softer than good would be a new experience, but she handled the Kempton poly well enough, giving hope that she'll cope with good to soft at least.
The local entry looks deep, but without there being a standout contender. Chalnetta could just be the pick of the French, and if the phrase 'she deserves to win a race like this' isn't downright stupid, then she deserves to win a race like this. Why? Because she's run second in similar contests on her last two starts, running into the very smart pair, Pacific Rim (headed to the Champions Day Fillies and Mares race) and La Pomme d'Amour.
There is nothing which has shown itself to be of that class in this field, so Chalnetta should go close, granted a loose lead on the front, as is her wont.
If it comes up on the soft side, Orion Love might have a chance. She ran a blinder when four to my Arc fancy, Treve, in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and her profile implies she's a better filly with cut underfoot. If she can settle better and take a prominent position, I'd fancy her to make the frame.
Siljan's Saga is another that will relish testing ground, and looks bred for this sort of trip despite having generally been campaigned over shorter. She's also raced mainly at the provincial tracks, so this will be a different sort of test, but she does deserve a crack at it, and has scope to be better than she's shown so far against a more exacting stamina test such as the Royallieu.
Of the remainder, Yellow And Green stands out. She was an excellent fifth in last year's Arc, and has had just the one run this term so far. That was a strange effort, as she completed fluffed the start and was detached, before making up ground and then finally seeing her run flatten out. That was back in May, though, so presumably something wasn't quite right with her afterwards as she's had a protracted time on the sidelines since. If she is at her best, she's got the class to win this, no question. But, given the interrupted season she's had, it is a fair-sized 'if'.
Royallieu soft ground tip: Orion Love
Royallieu good ground tip: Chalnetta
Best of the British: Pomology