Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Hearts Of Fire's raw speed can burn off opposition at Chantilly

Johnny Ward

T HE absence of a single Irish runner in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly today is not exceptional in itself, but it reflects the paucity of top-class three-year-old milers in the country.

Canford Cliffs does not run but this is very much a worthy Group One race and punters can avail of favourable each-way terms, with eight going to post. One of them is a 150/1 shot tasked with setting the fractions.

Altair Star's presence is critical: otherwise, there would be a strong chance of a muddling race, which would make the 5/4 about favourite Lope De Vega a very risky price. As it is, one is more wary of opposing him, as the race will be run at a pace to suit only him.

The value in the race looks to be the 5/1 available about Hearts Of Fire, trained by a man born in Co Kildare. Pat Eddery's son of Firebreak was having only his second seasonal run when a very unlucky third in the St James' Palace Stakes and he would probably have shaken up Canford Cliffs with a clear passage.

On that form, he should be able to beat Dick Turpin today and may well have the raw speed to outpace the favourite, which comes here after winning the French Derby too.


Hearts Of Fire to win the Prix Jean Prat, 1pt each way at 5/1 (Bet365)

THIS column advised Galway to win the Leinster SHC ante-post at 100/30. Today, they contest the decider, but it is a little surprising that they have not actually drifted to that original price to lift the Bob O'Keeffe Cup.

Galway took the guts of 150 minutes to finally master Offaly and, after three games, it seems safe to conclude that the Tribesmen have too many question-marks against them to beat Kilkenny.

Even the great Ollie Canning looks vulnerable when taken on now, while there is a lack of pace in their forward line and it seems improbable that Croke Park will suit them. The apparent advantage they have over the Cats because of having had three competitive matches seems negligible.

The advice is to back a Kilkenny goal to commence second-half scoring, as Bet365 go 33/1. The bookmakers expect the champions to get at least two goals, so there should obviously be more than a three per cent chance of any given score being a Kilkenny goal.

You can back the first score of the match to be a Cats major at 33/1 too (Paddy Power only quote 12/1), but a team is less inclined to go for goals early in games.


Kilkenny goal first second-half score, 0.5pt at 33/1 (Bet365)

IT remains difficult to treat the form of the Epsom Derby as wholly reliable. The runner-up, At First Sight, set even or slow fractions for much of the race and then kicked on earlier than what would normally be expected of a front-runner which was being ridden on his merits.

As a consequence, he beat everything bar Workforce, but the Ballydoyle runner was unplaced in both a Group Two and the Irish Derby since and is clearly somewhat flattered by the form.

It is difficult to knock what Workforce achieved -- and he broke the track record -- but it is likely that some of those behind At First Sight did not run to their ability.

Workforce faced neither Cape Blanco nor Harbinger at Epsom but both are set to take him on in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and, on the basis of recent history, one should generally be wary of backing Derby winners to win next-time out. Take on the son of King's Best at around 11/10 on Betfair three weeks before the race.


Lay Workforce to win the King George, 2pts at 2.1 (2.2pt liability, Betfair)


Profit to €10 stake: €283.78

Still running: €115

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