By Jon Lees
France: Exciting French colt Pao Alto could tackle one of two prep races ahead of the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) with the G3 Prix de Guiche the preferred option of trainer Christophe Ferland.
The son of Intello produced the standout performance of the opening week of racing’s resumption in France when he landed the G3 Prix la Force at ParisLongchamp.
Owned by the Wertheimers, Pao Alto stretched his record to three wins from four starts when pushed out by Maxime Guyon to beat highly rated Ocean Atlantique by a length and a half, as a result of which he is now 6-1 favourite with Ladbrokes for the Jockey Club on July 5.
“Pao Alto looks all right since he ran; he is sound and well,” said Ferland, who trains at La Teste de Buch in the southwest of France.
“I wasn’t surprised how easily he won,” he added. “I have always thought he was a good horse and now he did it. It was a good comeback in competition after a couple of months away.
“We had pressure to see him perform well but the Prix la Force was not the target. It was more about starting back in competition and he did it well.”
Ferland hopes to give Pao Alto another start before the Jockey Club in one of two recognised Classic trials, the Prix Greffulhe over 1m2f at Saint-Cloud on June 6 or Prix de Guiche over 1m1f on June 10 at ParisLongchamp.
“We will wait to know if he is in good shape to race or not but he’s got two races he could go for between now and the Jockey Club,” Ferland added. “It will be one of the two and it’s between the Prix Greffulhe or the Prix de Guiche. It’s probably more likely the Prix de Guiche than the Greffulhe but we will see at the right time.
“We have a little bit more than two months between now and the Jockey Club. A lot of things are going to happen between now and then so I don’t know if he is going to be favourite or not but he will have a good chance.”
Prix du Jockey Club betting
Ladbrokes: 6 Pao Alto, 7 Victor Ludorum, 8 Ocean Atlantique, 10 Port Guillaume, 12 Ecrivain, 16 bar