Pride on the line in Prix des Drags, La Barka

7 June 2024

Spes Militurf

Considered, rightly or wrongly, consolation races for the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris and the Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil respectively, the G.2 Prix des Drags and G.2 Prix la Barka are consistently high-quality events, drawing the crème of their disciplines, excepting the winners of last month’s G.1’s who are barred from taking part.  

The Drags, worth €247,000 this year, is not only a secondary Grand Steeple chance, but is an important objective in its own right. 

After disappointing in the 2023 Grand Steeple, Spes Militurf was quickly back on track and has since been carefully prepared for this. The distance of 4400m should be ideal for him, considering the limits of his staying ability, and the drying ground will only work in his favour.

Jojo Lapin fell early in last month’s Grand Steeple. Something of a late developer, David Cottin has always held his 5yo in high esteem, and a big win is long overdue.

Toscana du Berlais met the same fate last month, when clearly struggling, but just 3 weeks earlier had won the G.2 Prix Ingré, over the same course as the Drags, and his camp will be justifiably hopeful of a redemptive performance over a trip he is clearly comfortable over. 

Milanne bears the distinction of being unbeaten in 5 starts over fences and although taking a considerable step up in class, and racing over the outer course for the first time, her limits have yet to be established.

All eyes will be on Daniela Mele’s Jeu de Thaix in the Prix La Barka. Winner of last year’s prestigious Prix de Craon, he has since won 3 for 3 over Auteuil hurdles. Late scratch from the G.1 Prix Renaud du Vivier last autumn, he takes his first steps at Group level but looks eminently up to the task.

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