French Jumping has returned from its winter holidays in the south and the 3rd meeting of the year at Auteuil will certainly be informative. Plenty of good runners to note on the card, Historien, Saint Turgeon and a fascinating Grade 3 chase, where Hades and Magic Dream take each other on. Most of those races look more like watching briefs to me, but there are a couple of fancies for me on the card.
1:33(GMT) - Prix Tofano - Chase 4,400m
C’EST LE BOUQUET
This 9-year-old son of Coastal Path has a touch of class. His career has sadly been blighted by several injuries which have probably prevented him from reaching the very top level, but he does have 2 Listed wins and the Grade 3 Prix Montgomery on his CV. Indeed he has amassed over €250,000 of prize money in his career and has a Chase record of 17-5-6, He returned from yet another absence to be 2nd to Calotin over hurdles at Fontainebleau 3 weeks ago, when he was given a gentle ride by Clement Lefebvre. Turning for home he had several lengths to make up on the leaders, which he did without being asked for maximum effort, before running on well after the last to finish a creditable 2nd to a progressive rival. The sectional times for that race compare very well with Gamin D’oudairies, who won a similar contest on the same day and reposes here. James Reveley takes over the ride and given that run at Fontainebleau should have blown away the cobwebs, he should be spot on for this return to fences. In this small field, James Reveley should be able to track the early pace before putting his fitness and stamina to good use as the turn for home.
2:15(GMT) - Prix Univers II - Listed 4YO Hurdle 3,600m
Erwan Gralls 4-year-old has been a huge improver over the winter season at Pau, winning a decent hurdle race in January before adding a valuable 4-y-o chase to its CV last time out on 9th February. On both occasions the sectional times have been very good, especially on his last start when he made all the running to win by 7 lengths, with a final circuit time 8 seconds faster than the 5-y-o Chase over course and distance on the same card. He is very head strong and should have the speed to get a prominent position in this big field under the talented Geoffrey Re, whilst also being able to use his confirmed stamina to maintain the gallop. I expect him to go very close to taking this valuable prize.
C'est Le Bouquet - 0.5 Point Win
Hetre Rouge - 0.5 Point Each-Way