It is always nice to get some feedback and after canvassing for opinion on these data pieces, 2 things become clear. Firstly, it is great to hear that so many people are reading them, but secondly, it was put to me that I should perhaps be a little more direct in my analysis. So with that in mind, here are my key points taken from todays card at Auteuil, as well as the time comparison data for those that still want it.
The first point is a simple one, the times were still a shade on the quick side and so it needs to be noted that the "Very Soft 4,0" going description, is probably the equivalent of Good to Soft on a going stick measurement.
I don't have too much to say about the Chase form as I much prefer the hurdle races as a rule, but I would like to highlight the superb performance of Kamchatka when winning todays Prix de Bagatelle chase over 4,400-metres. He was unfortunate to bump into Il Est Francais last month and gave a huge boost to his form by winning this contest with ease. The leaders perhaps went too hard and that left the race at his mercy, as well as helping him to run a good time, but he did this so easily that it was hard not to be impressed. As I stated in an early piece, I was cautious with the form of the Prix Meli Melo last month, but this performance has started to change my opinion.
I have a basic rule with the ground on the hurdles track, wherever James Reveley chooses to ride is usually the best ground on offer. He made all to win the 4-year-old Listed handicap on Edwina and stuck to the inside rail in the back straight and he didn't seem overly fussed about heading to the outside rail throughout the day. That's good enough for me, but the times confirm that hypothesis anyway as those who raced wide don't appear to have gained any particular advantage. In fact, Pollexfen won the claiming hurdle by hugging the inside rail around the home turn, getting the better of Golliath, who took the bend in the more traditional wide position. Both of them jumped the last at the far end of the hurdle but still pulled clear in the closing stages. If your horse was wide and covering more ground, they were unlikely to gain any benefit today, especially if there were others who took a more direct route around the course.
The pair of 3-year-old hurdles look to be strong form. Kandy Park, backed in to 3.6 on the PMU before his hurdles debut, was easily the best horse in the Prix Isopani and confirmed that in the closing stages. I have also made a note of the 4th placed Kouca de Thaix, who was the only filly to go with the principles and who made good headway from the rear in a race that the front runners seemed to control. Sent off at 4.4 on the PMU, she has clearly shown ability and had already won an AQPS Flat race, so there should be a 3-year-old hurdle for her in the coming weeks.
The Prix Piomares is also a 3-year-old hurdle to note. Despite the early fall of the favorite Keep On, this race looks likely to prove to be a strong piece of form as we have a fast overall time, a fast final circuit time and we had as many as 9-runners in contention as they turned for home. The winner had made a reasonable debut when 3rd at Clairefontaine last month but he travelled like a good horse today and tanked his way to the front between the final 2 flights to win nicely. The 2 geldings from the Sourdeau de Beauregard yard who finished placed behind him had built on their own debut efforts, whilst the 5th placed Choeur Etincelle will have pleased his connections on his first outing on the racecourse.