It’s the return to the temple of French jump racing this Sunday as Le Hippodrome d’Auteuil plays host to a huge card of top-quality action, including two Group One’s. The younger generation take centre stage the highlight of the day is a Group One for the four-year-old’s over the hugely demanding steeplechase course at the Parisian track.
A bit of a different spin on things this weekend as I have gone for three horses I struggle to see getting beat and my NAP of the day is something out of the ordinary… a straight up treble may be the best way here. I’ve also thrown in my fancies for the other big races on the card… it’s that good a day’s racing!
For those of you that have been following this column it will come as no surprise that LE BERRY is my NAP of the day. For those of you that haven’t, I will just recap on just how good this horse is!
The four-year-old trained in Chantilly by David Cottin is five from five since turning his attention to the larger obstacles, jumping flawlessly every time and has never come off the bridle. A front runner, there hasn’t been many horses able to match the pace set by Le Berry and his jockey Kevin Nabet all season and this should just be a case of ‘how far’, on what could be the beginning of a huge few days for the upcoming trainer (Cheltenham festival winner Easysland entered during the week).
The son of Gemix has a huge rating in France for a four-year-old (UK 168) and should claim his first group one success here in a race that has thrown up plenty of Gold Cup winners on both sides of the channel (Long Run took this in 2009). As I mentioned last week, I am lucky enough to ride out in David Cottin’s yard every morning and if you look closely enough you will even see me leading this horse up in the preliminaries… the personal touch!
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He has been in red-hot form over recent weeks and Royan-based trainer Arnaud Chaille-Chaille shows no signs of stopping as he saddles talented gelding THELEME for this huge contest, featuring some of the country’s top juveniles. An ex-flat performer, the three-year-old was a little green on his debut at the start of September but managed to finish a close second before going on to demolish a hugely experienced field second time out, when taking a Group Two by four lengths.
Theleme looked to have plenty in reserve that day and it is hard to see any of his rivals reversing the form here. This is a race that has thrown up winners such as Long Run and Tidal Bay in the past and it could be worth noting the name Theleme sooner rather than later… he looks the real deal.
It wouldn’t be a big Sunday card at Auteuil without a François Nicolle trained winner and although this is a steeplechase for three-year-old’s, I am quite sure that I’M WALKIN is the best horse in the field.
In a short-lived career over hurdles, he always threatened to take a big-prize but was probably caught out for a bit of speed. A recent switch to the bigger obstacles proved an instant hit and he took a listed race with supreme ease on his chasing debut. Long touted as the winner of this race since that emphatic win and it would be no surprise to see jockey Angelo Zuliani try and make it fromm pillar to post with this bold jumping young chaser.
Tips for Auteuil on Sunday
Keep an eye out for
11:25 Bebe D’Or
11:55 Byzance Du Berlais (E/W)
12:25 Hotesse Du Chenet
15:25 Full Time
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