We’re barely back a week in France, but a few trainers have started to hit their stride.
It’s the second day of action on Sunday at Auteuil’s two-day jumps meeting where a 10-race card starts with an opening 2m 2f hurdle at 12.25 for four-year-olds. I went over to visit French trainer Guillame Macaire last year and was super impressed with his ability to let horses develop.
He recognises how much harder it is for horses to win at the premium tracks like Auteuil, rather than at the provincial tracks in France, so he gives them time to improve.
He runs Fire Dancer in this contest and he was was impressive at Compiegne last November when winning over 2m 1f.
He strikes me as Macaire improver in the first.
The one to keep an eye on the market is Another Man, as he is related to Milord Thomas and Martinstar who were both multiple winners far the same owner.
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The second race on the card at 13.00 is a 2m 6f Chase for amateur riders – so beware the overweight as that has to be taken into consideration. Dalahast is bound to be popular in the market having won four of his six starts and his trainer David Cottin had a treble on the opening day of the resumption of French racing.
However, My Way won a four-year-old chase at Auteuil last November and finished second at Fontainebleau over hurdles in February.
I like his prospects to hit the frame at least.
The 13.35 is a Listed Hurdle race for three-year-old fillies where three of the seven runners are trained by Champion French jumps trainer, Francois Nicolle. His stable has been red hot since resumption and it looks to be a case of trying to find out which one of his three is the one to side with.
While Pamela Des Mottes won nicely at Campion, I really liked the performance of Sainte Candy at this venue on March 20th. She beat Anita Du Berlais and the runner-up looked very tall and ‘leggy’ that day, so could narrow the gap and put it up to the selection.
There’s 20 runners declared for the 2m 7f Handicap Chase at 14.15 and Paddy is paying the first 5 home. The Golden Boy is the top-weight and was impressive when winning last time, but the ground was bottomless and will not be anywhere near as soft on Sunday.
Kapdam brings some Grade 1 placed form to the table, finishing second in November to Figuero in a four-year-old chase. He can’t be discounted in a race where you can make a case for a few.
The one I really like is Shakapon, owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede and trained by the in-form Francois Nicolle. He’s won three chases and was even successful at Pau over hurdles last time.
Spanish One could be a play for the places. He has a nice record fresh and could be thereabouts.
The first of my final two fancies on the card comes in the Grade 2 four-year-old chase at 15.25. Dream Wish will be popular in the market but I like Al Cuarto under Bertrand Lestrade for Guillame Macaire.
This lad should improve for the step up in trip and gets the nod.
I’ll finish off in the 16:00 where the popular French mare, Lautonomie, will be hard to beat in the 2m 5f Grade 2 Hurdle. She has a huge following in France.
However, Paul’s Saga looks good each-way value against the likely odds-on favourite, as she won twice at the track last year and trainer David Cottin is in good form.
*Prices correct at publishing but are subject to change