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The first major event of the winter proceedings at the Hippodrome de Pau takes place this weekend with the 134th running of the Grand Prix de Pau. Eleven races take place across a fine mixed card and with over €300,000 on offer, all of the countries top trainers are well represented.
I have been down here in Pau for the majority of the winter and it really has been a question of ‘horses for courses’. My NAP really has been on form this winter and I fully expect him to go in.
Chantilly-based training sensation David Cottin is commonly known as the ‘King of Pau’ having spent many years as the champion jockey at the southern track and, since 2017, he’s been the champion trainer at the winter meeting. The Grade 3 Grand Prix de Pau is one of the highlights of the winter and has long been the objective of the Cottin-trained AJAS.
Ajas has not been out of the first two in six starts and has really proved himself around the unique course here at Pau. I see this horse every morning and he really is thriving, he is the ‘coup de coeur’ (one of his favourites) and should go very close to making it a treble in this race for trainer David Cottin.
HAPPY DE REVE really was the horse to take away from the meeting here at Pau just over two weeks ago, having finished second to the highly touted Hardy De Mesnil. The four-year-old son of Voiladenuo travelled well for the majority of the 3,500m contest and has found himself in what looks like a slightly weaker event here.
Trainer Gabriel Leenders was one of only three trainers in France to train over 100 winners in the year and should have Happy de Reve primed to take advantage of what looks a very opportunistic engagement here.
I was hugely impressed by MICHEL over course and distance last time out, having won comfortably under a hands and heels ride from talented young rider Clement Merille. The duo team up again and the conditions of the race mean that Michel is extremely well placed in terms of weight here.
Drawn in stall five, the three-year-old should be able to get a good lead into the race and to me, he should win this with minimal fuss for top trainer Didier Guillemin.
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