Extremely testing ground conditions played havoc over last weekend’s card at Deauville leading to some unexpected, large priced winners such as the James Fanshawe-trained Audaya who returned at a huge 40/1.
Judging by the rain that has fallen here in France recently we can safely say it will be much the same story on Sunday, the final day of the meeting, where racing is due to be run on ground officially described as ‘very soft’.
My NAP comes in the feature race of the day, the Grand Prix de Deauville and I have also chosen a few value selections across what looks like quite a tricky card.
The Carlos Laffon-Parias trained Ziyad took the Grand Prix de Deauville last season in tenacious fashion and although the gelding is in arguably lesser form this year, it is difficult to see him getting beat here. He comes into this race quite fresh having not run since June and connections have always stated that this has been the plan.
If Ziyad were to reproduce his third place finish from last time out at Saint-Cloud that could be good enough to take this contest (in which five-year-old have a solid recent record) at a track where he has produced some of his best runs (1st,1st,5th).
Telecaster could prove the biggest danger to Ziyad having won easily on his penultimate start at ParisLongchamp but Ziyad’s jockey Olivier Peslier should be able to get into his usual front-running rhythm in this small field before trying to hold off the challengers close home over this 2,500m trip.
Chantilly-based trainer Henri Devin’s string have been quiet over recent weeks but the group one winning trainer seems to have found the perfect opportunity to get Alocasia back to winning ways here.
She will be assisted by hugely in-form jockey Cristian Demuro who takes the ride for the first time on the Kingman filly, and with only 55kgs on her back, Alocasia could get the job done.
The 1,200m trip is optimal and, although three-year-olds only have a moderate record in this race, it is worth noting that this recent listed race winner takes on a much less competitive field than when producing yet another fine effort in defeat a few weeks ago.
Alocasia has previously shown a tendency to like some good cut in the ground and is drawn to strike in stall two, ideal in these conditions. I really fancy her chances and she will hopefully get a much deserved group win in this contest.
Fired into the deep-end here and one of the lowest rated in the six-strong field but the Francis Graffard-trained Les Vertus is significantly on the upgrade and should any of the big players underperform, this tough grey mare will be there to pick up the pieces at the finish.
Four-year-olds have an outstanding record in this race and Les Vertus comes here of the back of a solid win at listed level a few weeks ago at Vichy.
Chantilly-based Graffard is proving to be a master with this type of animal (he tends to ease them through the grades) and the Graffard/Boudot combination has been on fire throughout this year’s Deauville meeting.
Les Vertus is sure to act on the ground and, although she is far from a ‘sure thing’, I think she could be quite interesting at a nice price here.
It will be no easy task to reproduce his winning efforts from only eight days ago but there is every reason to be confident in a solid run from Loquen.
Supplemented into this race at declaration stage by his dynamic young trainer Gavin Hernon, Loquen looks to have the beating of most of these and adored ground conditions when winning with a bit in hand over a furlong further last week.
Penalised 2.5kgs for that win, things will obviously be more difficult this time round but the Hernon yard is in terrific form and Loquen could go close again this weekend.
A lucky 15 on my four selections could pay dividends in these conditions and it may also be worth keeping an eye on jockeys Pierre Charles Boudot and Cristian Demuro who both have plenty of strong rides across the day.
Jason Kiely’s tips for racing at Deauville on Sunday
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