07/09/2016 12:14PM

Nemoralia taking on males in Prix Jean Prat


The English filly Nemoralia has a decent chance to beat males in France in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat for 3-year-olds over one mile at Chantilly on Sunday.

Nemoralia, trained by Jeremy Noseda, is one of nine entrants in the race and is essentially co-favored in ante-post wagering along with Zelzal. But where Zelzal’s baseline class still remains in question, Nemoralia seems well established as a Group 1 performer, at least in the age-restricted ranks.

Nemoralia raced twice in the U.S. last fall, finishing second to Nickname on dirt in the Frizette Stakes at Belmont and third behind Catch a Glimpse in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. This season, she easily won a prep race at York, then finished second to Quemah in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Coronation was run on a Friday, and the Ascot turf had dried from quite soft three days before to good-to-soft when Nemoralia raced, but the ground still might have been softer than ideal for the filly. The going Sunday at Chantilly is forecast to be good, and Nemoralia, still relatively fresh this season and a proven traveler, should at least hold form.

Jean-Claude Rouget trains Quemah, the Coronation winner, and also trains Zelzal.  Zelzal debuted this year and has won three of his four starts, including his first group stakes win last out in the Group 3 Prix Paul de Moussac. But sticking out on his form is his lone try at the Group 1 level, an 11th-place finish in the French 2000 Guineas, and while Sunday’s race has less depth, Zelzal still has something to prove.

First Selection finished second in the French 2000 Guineas, but someone had to, and he was more than five lengths behind The Ghurka and was subsequently well beaten in the St. James’s Palace Stakes. Stormy Antarctic might be considered, however. He showed little last out in the English 2000 Guineas, but that was his first poor performance in seven starts, and he nearly won the Group 1 Criterium International last fall in his first trip from England to France.

• Wai Key Star and Boscaccio look like the major players among 15 entered in the Group 1 German Derby on Sunday at Hamburg. The race will be contested over 1 1/2 miles on ground forecast to be heavy.