Sunday, June 05, 2016

The French Prix Lupin

Another Derby weekend has been and gone.  In theory I'd often go down to Epsom because Derby Day is so special, and we don't often have runners elsewhere that day.  (It goes, of course, without saying that we don't have runners at Epsom that day - although in the future one never knows ...).  I have a birthday around this time of year so that would make a day out as a birthday treat justifiable - but in practice staying at home is the easy way out.  I've had a fairly easy weekend and so I'm not feeling too tired now (Sunday evening) but yesterday I still felt a bit jaded after my handful of recent outings to the races - so an afternoon in front of the TV (including dozing off in the chair between races) was perfect.

The only thing which has spoiled Derby weekend (and it really has been a very good weekend as the weather has finally come good after a cold and wet week, as you can see with a midweek photograph preceding one taken yesterday and two taken today) has been the frequent references to 'the French Derby' which we have had to endure today.  I was never totally comfortable with anglophones referring to the Prix du Jockey-Club as 'the French Derby' even when it was France's equivalent of the Derby (on the basis that if the Societe d'Encouragement had wished it to be called the French Derby, they would have called it le Derby francais, rather than le Prix du Jockey-Club).

Since 2005, however, it has been totally unjustifiable to refer to the Prix du Jockey-Club as the French Derby.  If any race can be thus described, it now has to be the Grand Prix de Paris (2400m) on Bastille Day while (if we wish to equate the Prix du Jockey-Club to something, rather than merely just calling it by its proper name) the Prix du Jockey-Club over 2100m is now. one might say, France's equivalent of the Prix Lupin.  Or, if that's too confusing, it could be seen as France's equivalent of the Dante Stakes (ie the 10ish-furlong interim three-year-olds' race midway between the eight-furlong Classic and the 12-furlong Classic, which is what the late Prix Lupin used to be).

Those niceties won't be bothering us, though, when we have our only runner of this week which should be (assuming that she isn't eliminated) Magic Ice at Yarmouth on Wednesday in a four-year-olds' and upwards 46-55 Class Six handicap.  She is a six-year-old maiden who hasn't run for the best part of a year and a half, so it'll be something of a shot in the dark, particularly as she isn't yet 100% fit.  But she might run very well.  We'll go to the races full of hope but with no expectations, so that way we won't be disappointed if/when she runs down the field.  But it won't be a wasted outing whatever happens because it'll be valuable experience for David Egan (son of John and pictured on Magic Ice this morning) who is apprenticed to Roger Varian and who, if she takes part, will be having his fifth race-ride.

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