Auteuil Preview - Saturday 26th September
A fascinating card at Auteuil, the second in a week. As we head into the Autumn, the build up to the delayed Grand Steeple meeting gathers pace and the best jumpers in France are making their final preparations for the big day. This card could be very informative and there are a couple of horses that I am really looking forward to seeing.
James Du Berlais - Auteuil 4.05
The feature race on Saturday is the Grade 3 Prix De Maisons-Lafitte and in James Du Berlais we have a potential superstar to watch. Here is a horse to get excited about. James Du Berlais is the only horse to have so far lowered the colours of the well thought of Galleo Conti. When they met in a Grade 3 at Auteuil in July, having given him a 5 length start turning in, James Du Berlais picked up Galleo Conti and was ahead by the time they reached the final flight, going on to win by 2 1/2 lengths. The times that day were exceptional, as James Du Berlais recorded the fastest circuit times of all the hurdle races, in spite of running over 2-furlongs further. Galleo Conti won his next 2 starts with ease, whilst the other winners on the day, Herman Baie and Fortunes Melody have both won pattern races on their next starts.
There is some opposition for him. In a Grade 1 at Compiegne in June, FOR FUN, who reopposes here, just outstayed James Du Berlais on the run-in. However, that was on Heavy going at Compiegne and James Du Berlais paid the price for making most of the running that day. On better ground and with a slight fitness edge on For Fun who hasn’t run since, I expect him to reverse this form.
On paper this looks a match, as the other runners in the field look to be well held by these two, but James Du Berlais is the exciting horse and I expect him to take this before moving on to a bigger target at next months Grand Steeple meeting.
Fortunes Melody - Auteuil 2.50
The Grade 3 Prix De Chambly is the other interesting race on Saturdays card. This Juvenile hurdle contest is full of potential, but the horse I have been looking forward to is FORTUNES MELODY for trainer David Cottin. This daughter of Yorgunnabelucky is already a winner over course and distance after taking a conditions hurdle here in July, before also taking a Listed hurdle here on the 4th September.
She showed a very game attitude that day after being headed on the run-in by Hotesse Du Chenet who reopposes here, putting her head down when it mattered, she rallied superbly well to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths. The time that day was very good and she has shown a real liking for the track here at Auteuil.
Saturdays line up includes most of the promising Juvenile Fillies in France and they have lots of form lines that tie in with one and other. Ladyville is a clear danger, having won a Grade 3 here on 4th July, when she powered away from stable mate L’aubonniere, who is also in this field. The time figures support Ladyville, who produced a good number when winning here in July, however, she was slowing down on the run to the line and may not be able to handle the sprint finish of Fortunes Melody, who has twice been quicker than Ladyville from 2 out to the line, in spite of running on softer going.
Through various form lines the likes of Ha La Land and Trheliga appear held by these two and given the likely steady early pace and sprint finish, I find it very hard to oppose Fortunes Melody with her finishing kick.