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Well the British and Irish jumps season may have hit top gear as Cloth Cap scooted home an excellent winner of the Ladbroke’s Trophy, but over in France we see the closure of a fantastic winter session at Auteuil. The Parisian racecourse hosts the final two Group One races of the French calendar year. with the prestigious Prix Haye Josselin the feature on the eight-race card.
We have one last chance to snatch a few value winners in Paris before everyone heads down south to Pau and I there are a few beauties across Sunday afternoon’s action. I would be surprised if these three don’t hit the board.
A huge €162,000 to the winner here in Sunday’s feature and the eight-year-old DOCTEUR DE BALLON will take all the beating. The Louisa Carberry-trained gelding was hugely impressive when sprinting clear in the rescheduled Grand Steeple Chase de Paris six weeks ago.
He jumped with incredible fluency that day and was given a tremendous ride by reigning French champion jockey Bertrand Lestrade. The pair looked menacing from the moment they left the back straight and sliced through the field as if they were standing still. With much the same rivals in this weekend’s contest, I reckon that Docteur de Ballon will come out on top once again to claim a second French Group One success for his upcoming trainer.
As anyone who follows me on here will know, I am a regular work rider at David Cottin’s Chantilly yard and his SUROIT could be one of the value bets of the day here. He was very unlucky to get beaten the last day and suffered from a heavy reversal in the weights with the eventual winner.
Unlike the UK or Ireland, in France when you finish second in a handicap, you do not get put up in the weights (or very, very rarely at least) and a reproduction of Suroit’s recent second placing will be good enough to get the job done here. Redwillow Imperial pushes the weights down here and Suroit gets in here off a relatively light weight.
We could see him in a few group races in the springtime and I would be disappointed were he not to win here before heading off for a winter break. I will certainly be having a few euros on!
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I can remember speaking to former French champion jockey and all-round legend Jacques Ricou at the beginning of 2020 and asking him for a horse to follow for the season. Although Jacques is retired, he still rides out regularly at Arnaud Chaille-Chaille’s Royab-based yard and he said the name LORADAME to me without hesitating.
He holds her in quite high regard, and she steps up into Group company here after a convincing win last time out. Both the trainer and his stable-jockey Thomas Coutant have been in untouchable form of late and Loradame could take beating here at what could be a decent price.
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