Horses To Follow » Silverwave


Silverwave put up a really nice performance to win the Group 3 Prix La Force at Longchamp on Sunday.

Settled in sixth place of the seven runners and towards the inside by rider Adrien Fouassier through the early stages of the race, he got a little tapped for toe as the pace quickened into the false straight, but he was quickly back on an even keel. The pace that favourite Epicuris set was strong, not a typically stop-start French pace, and that was probably a significant help to Silverware, given that he was settled back in the small field. Niggled along a little as they passed the four-furlong pole, his rider got even lower in the saddle as they straightened up for home with two and a half furlongs to run, but Silverware responded. Moving off the rail, he was quickly past Piment Rouge and into second place behind Epicuris. The favourite appeared to be travelling better as they passed the 400-metre pole, but it was quickly apparent that Silverware was finishing the stronger. He hit the front just outside the 200-metre mark and he powered away to put four lengths between himself and Epicuris, who in turn finished two and a half lengths in front of Medrano in third.

There is a chance that this performance by Silverwave will be under-rated by many. That is the natural inclination, given that the Silver Frost colt is trained by the relatively unheralded Alain Couetil and that his three previous runs had all been in Provinces. Also, the talk afterwards was that the favourite had raced too freely in front, and that that had set it up for the winner.

That notion may be wide of the mark, however. For starters, Epicuris is a front-runner, he made all the running when he won the Prix de Conde and when he won the Criterium de Saint-Cloud last autumn. As well as that, he didn’t have to do a lot of running to get to the front on Monday, and he settled nicely once he got there. If anything, he got the run of the race, for all that Montalbano raced up on his outside during the early part of the race.

It may pay to trust this form and, if you do, it is strong form. Epicuris was unbeaten going into the race, he has won all three of his races as a juvenile, including the Group 3 Prix de Conde and the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud. He was generally a 16/1 shot for the Epsom Derby before Monday’s race. Also, the winning time was good, it was the fastest comparative time on the day, and it was just under a half a second faster than the time that Al Kazeem clocked in winning the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt over the same course and distance an hour later carrying 5lb less than Silverware carried.

Silverwave himself was also unbeaten going into the race, and he obviously remains unbeaten. He may have been competing in lesser grades as a juvenile, but he proved here that he belongs in this grade. His trainer said afterwards that the Prix du Jockey Club is now the plan, and that makes a lot of sense. He should get a similarly strong pace in the Jockey Club. Interestingly, Saonois, from the largely unheralded Jean-Pierre Gauvin yard, won the Prix La Force in 2012, and he went on to spring a 25/1 shocker in the Jockey Club (he was beaten in the Prix Greffulhe in the interim) before also going on to add the Prix Niel to his cv.

6th April 2015