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We have had the English version, the Irish version and now it’s time for the French Grand National. Albeit a bit different to a conventional National, 20 brave horses and riders take their chance in the €225,000 showpiece at the Hippodrome d’Auteuil.
Aside from the feature, this Sundays card offers some strong punting opportunities and I have picked out a few to keep an eye on throughout the afternoon.
The queen of French jumps racing L’AUTONOMIE graces the turf again this weekend and should have no difficulty taking her fabulous record to 13 wins from 18 lifetime starts. The apple of her trainer François Nicolle’s eye, l’Autonomie finished up the 2020 season with a few below par performances, but quickly got 2021 off to a winning start with a facile success three weeks ago.
Winner of this race last year, the six-year-old easily got the better of her nearest rivals last time out and she should have no problem repeating that form here. Don’t be alarmed, L’Autonomie’s tendency to jump violently right doesn’t seem to hinder her performance and I am sure that her regular rider Angelo Zuliani will keep things simple and make all the running as usual. As big a NAP as possible this one, she is the best hurdler in France.
She has always been hyped to do big things by her trainer David Cottin and QUEEN DU BERLAIS has definitely not been disappointing since turning her attentions to the larger obstacles at Auteuil. The four-year-old daughter of Mutathair broke her maiden with an easy win here last month and swiftly followed up with a devastating victory, when stepped up in trip two weeks later.
She looked top class that day and could easily develop into a future Group One winner. Her trainer has been in great from recently and Queen du Berlais has an incredibly strong chance at making it three from three around Auteuil this weekend – especially if she jumps as well, as her two most recent starts.
He will have to prove that his stamina is up to the test, but I believe that DARLING DES BORDES could be a cracking each-way bet in the French Grand National. He has shown plenty of consistency throughout a fine chasing career and his regular jockey James Reveley has been in red-hot form lately.
The better ground may be the key to this son of Balko, and he has some excellent course form. I expect that he will be ridden close to the pace and if producing his usual impeccable jumping then I am sure that Darling Des Bordes will be in the money for the feature.
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