Pao Alto did us a huge favour at Longchamp on Thursday in the Group 3 Prix la Force in the best time of the day and is now vying for favouritism for the Prix du Jockey Club which will be held at Chantilly on Sunday 5th July.
Having raced on soft ground on Monday the ground was described as good at Longchamp on Thursday and that description was backed up by the clock. If there was plenty of cut in the ground in the French Derby I wonder if Pao Alto would confirm the form with runner up Ocean Atlantique who went into many notebooks midweek and will certainly appreciate the additional distance of the classic.
After some top-class flat action earlier in the week, the focus turns to the jumps this weekend with a terrific card from Auteuil to look forward to this afternoon.
There have been very few shouts of Gooaal in recent weeks and few, if any, hat-tricks to celebrate, but the horse of that name is chasing a third successive win in the four-year-old chase although he must give weight to his nine rivals and the form of his latest success was let down by the runner up Garfield – who certainly didnt jump like a cat – earlier in the week.
The filly Nanosecond looks sure to go off market leader having scored on her chase debut here back in March, where she gave every indication that she would appreciate this step up in trip to an extended 2m 5f. The each way nod, however, goes to Galant Du Chenet (12.05) who represents the powerful stable of Guillaume Macaire and who was last seen winning over hurdles here back in February. The selection is 7/1 with bet365.
In the listed Go Ahead Hurdle for 3-year-olds Macaire is likely to saddle the front two in the betting but I will be disappointed if Nimes (1.05) cannot follow up his winning debut at Compiegne back in March. Jockey James Reveley seemed confident – if not bullish – of a bold show from his juvenile when interviewed on Sky Sports Racing earlier in the week and the hope is that he can give 3lbs to his six rivals.
It should be said that the third and fourth horses home at Compeigne did little for the form earlier in the week, but do note Macaire saddled the 1-2 in the corresponding race 12 months ago. The selection is Evens at Boylesports and it would be no surprise to see the winner of this contest attract support from some of the leading British and Irish owners.
The feature race is the Grade 2 Prix Murat and the equine star on show is last year’s Grade 1 Grand Steeple Chase de Paris winner Carriacou who represents the yard of Isabelle Pacault. The 8-year-old was beaten more than 10L over hurdles here back in March although the ground was heavier than ideal. While I expect to see a better run today, regular pilot Davy Russell does not take the mount and this is likely to put him spot on for a repeat bid in the big one back here next month.
The mare Ebonite must go close having made such an impressive return here in March, but I am a big fan of both five-year-olds Feu Follet and Figuero (1.35) and preference for the latter is marginal.
The selection beat Feu Follet by 3L over today’s C&D back in September but the latter is 4lbs better off today which suggests there will be little between the pair. Figuero – who is now unbeaten in his last three starts – won over timber here back in March and was backed from a best priced 5/2 with William Hill into 15/8 on Friday. That looks short enough now as it really is a race to savour.
Seduction is interesting in the listed hurdle for fillies and mares having won two of her last three starts including a chase at Fontainebleau last time. Katy Love is chasing her hat-trick and is another to consider in a competitive handicap, but I am going to take a chance on Kalmia (2.45) who was never placed to challenge in Grade 3 company here back in March. The selection is 9/2 with bet365.
The four-year-old can be a bit keen in her races and the hope is that run will have blown away the cobwebs and make her more amenable to restraint.
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