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Auteuil 3rd December

Another very decent midweek card at Auteuil this Thursday. French racing authorities should be commended for the quality of the racing they put on from Monday-Friday and this card at Auteuil is no exception. The track has taken a bit of a battering this autumn and the ground is heavy all over. Many of the jockeys like to experiment by racing wider in the back straight, especially over hurdles, which has had limited success in recent weeks. One thing that is not in doubt is the golden highway along the stands rail after the final flight and as such it is always worth forgiving any horse who races away from that bias.

The card begins with a claiming hurdle at 10:55, but that race looks to be a minefield for punters and I'm happy to leave it alone. In the 11:25 I am very keen on Hemevoici. Francois Nicolle’s 3-year-old has made a very promising start to his career, with 2 wins from 4 starts. He was last seen finishing 3rd in a very decent Chase at Compiegne, won by the progressive A Babord. Hemevoici made most of the running that day before tiring in the heavy ground. That race was run at a relentless gallop and the first 3 home pulled 12 lengths clear of the 4th. That level of form would appear to be a grade above most of this field and with a more patient ride from Bertrand Lestrade, he should have enough class to win this €27000 race.

Later on the card there is a fascinating 3-year-old hurdle and the horse I like is River Flight. The Chaille-Chaille yard has had an incredible end to the year and River Flight has been one of the highlights. Having won at Nantes and Auteuil in October, he was sent off 5/1 2nd favourite for a Grade 3 hurdle at Compiegne that was eventually won by the very exciting filly Hotesse Du Chenet. He came down on the first circuit when he guessed at the flight in the home straight, but his strength in the market that day shows how strongly connections regard him. Provided he is no worse for his fall, he should be able to resume winning ways in a field that lacks depth. Both Starlet Du Mesnil and Bimbo Has have run to a reasonable standard, but they both looked to lack a turn of foot on their last starts and may be vulnerable to River Flight when the pace lifts turning for home.

Last on my list is Fix It All, who runs in the 4-year-old chase at 1:42. Trained by Francois Nicolle, he comes here on the back of a string of decent runs this year, with better form than his career record of 0-7 would suggest. Last time out, he bumped into Grazano, who was heavily backed on its return to the track after a 450 day absence. Fix It All was held off the pace, which never suits at Nantes and he did well to follow the favourite through on the run to the line. The time of that race was exceptional and given how well Fix It All ran on to the line, he should relish this return to fences on a more conventional track. Earlier this year he chased home Le Berry on 2 occasions, there is nothing of that quality in this field and a repeat of any of his last 3 performances should be enough to get him in the money.


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