07/06/2007 12:00AM

Lawman heads Jean Prat


Lawman, the wire-to-wire winner of the Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby), drops back in distance by five-sixteenths of a mile on Sunday to take on the French 2000 Guineas winner Astronomer Royal in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat over Chantilly's right-handed mile.

Lawman's trainer, Jean-Marie Beguigne, said, "I decided to bring Lawman back to a mile in the hope of increasing his future value as a stallion. . . . He is in very good form and has progressed well since the Jockey-Club."

Trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien, Astronomer Royal will be reappearing just 19 days after he chased home stablemates Excellent Art and Duke of Marmalade in the St. James's Palace Stakes, which had a slow pace. Kieren Fallon, who remains banned from riding in Britain pending race-fixing charges, will be in the saddle.

A truly international field of seven in the Jean Prat has candidates from five different countries. Britain is represented by Tobosa, an easy handicap winner since disappointing in the 2000 Guineas, and Asperity, the courageous winner of a Group 3 event over this course and distance. Stoneside, beaten a nose in that Group 3 contest, carries the hopes of Spain, while the Italian 2000 Guineas hero, Golden Titus, gives the lineup its third classic winner.

The septet is completed by Grand Vista, who has finished behind Stoneside on his last two starts and could be safely discounted were he not trained by the perennial French champion, Andre Fabre.

An interesting tactical race is in prospect, with Astronomer Royal needing a strong tempo and both Lawman and Asperity seemingly best suited by forcing the pace.