Why Shaman could conjure upset in Longcahmp’s early season Arc trial
Shaman goes well fresh, so could be worth chancing to beat old rival Sottsass in the 1m 2f Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt at Longchamp in Paris on Monday (13:05).
This four-year-old is trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias and has won first time up in each of the last two seasons.
After landing a Listed contest at Saint-Cloud and the Group 3 Prix la Force here over 9f, he was thought of a Classic contender 12 months ago.
Shaman was far from disgraced when a length runner-up to Persian King in the French 2000 Guineas. This son of Shamardal stayed over a mile for the rest of the campaign without getting his head in front again.
However, Shaman ran some fine races in defeat. They include when beaten a 1 1/4 lengths by Romanised in the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville.
He was also a fine third to mudlark The Revenant in the Group 1 Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Arc weekend here. Connections are trying something different with Shaman in the Prix d’Harcourt.
As he gets weight from Sottsass, it puts Shaman at an advantage. He therefore appeals most in a renewal that is more open than the betting suggests.
Sottsass has needed run in past but respected
French Derby hero and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe third Sottsass is odds-on with bookmakers here. He can’t be anything else on the pick of his form but, although respected, there are reasons to take him on.
Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, this four-year-old is four from seven career starts and two from two over similar trips to this. However, the son of Siyouni concedes weight all-round.
Sottsass has not put his best foot forward on previous reappearance runs, though. That is a major concern as he may need this outing in the Prix d’Harcourt.
He is only one from three at Longchamp too, dropping to fifth in the Prix la Force behind Shaman on his first start of last season.
As Sottsass came out and notched a hat-trick from his next three starts, it may be worth forgiving him that. Only Waldgeist and Enable were too good for him in the Arc.
It’s easy to see why bookies have Sottsass as a hot favourite. On this occasion, however, he should be opposed at cramped odds.
In-form Simona and Syrtis each-way possibles in Prix d’Harcourt
You can make a case for a few hitting the frame here. In-form four-year-old filly Simona has won both her starts this term, so fitness won’t be an issue.
Francis-Henri Graffard’s charge relished the step up to this trip in a Group 3 at Saint-Cloud last time out. Simona made all and ran on for a 1 3/4 lengths victory.
She previously bolted up by 6 1/2 lengths in a 7f conditions contest at Compiegne. As Simona remains unexposed over further than a mile, her double figure odds give her each-way claims.
Godolphin runner Syrtis is another who could go well at a big price. This lightly-raced four-year-old hails from Andre Fabre’s yard and is by Frankel.
After winning a mile maiden here on racecourse debut, Syrtis finished runner-up three times at Group 3 level over further. He was outpaced in each of those, so it wasn’t that he didn’t stay.
Syrtis had a spin on the all-weather at Chantilly in March following a winter break. If coming on for that pipe opener, then he could outrun his odds and into the Prix d’Harcourt frame.