Best Bet - 26th January
Prix Harry La Montagne - 4YO Claiming Chase - 12:00 Pau - Indice Des Cierges - 1 Pt Win
The racing at Cagnes-Sur-Mer takes a break this Wednesday and we switch our attention instead to a mixed card at Pau followed by an all-weather card at Deauville under the lights. It’s fair to say that the card at Pau doesn’t quite have the same excitement and quality on show as there was for Sundays Grand Prix de Pau meeting, but there are still a few decent betting opportunities to be found and none more so than in the 12:00, which is Race 3 on the card. 7 runners will go to post for this 3,700m chase and through a delicate process of elimination we can work the field down to find the most likely winner.
David Cottin runs 2 in the race, Instant Du Large and Sacre Coeur. Anything that he runs at this level warrants respect, but the yard has been relatively quiet of late, 0-19 in the last 14 days in fact and neither of their runners make too much appeal based on their recent form. INSTANT DU LARGE pulled up in a 4-year-old hurdle here on the 8th January, when he never really travelled and looked to struggle in the heavy ground. That was his first run and every horse deserves more time, but it would take an enormous improvement for him to win 2nd time up. SACRE COEUR has more experience, but he was beaten a distance here 2-weeks ago and through a couple of form lines would look to be held easily here.
VAI VAI finished 3rd at Agen in the autumn over hurdles, but hasn’t built on it and was well beaten when pulling up in a chase here in December. She has a lot to find on that evidence.
CLENI NIGHT and MR LULU met in a claiming chase here on 8th January, finishing 2nd and 4th respectively behind Contre Ordre. Although they were both soundly beaten, Contre Ordre was in the process of completing his 3rd win in 4 starts and they both showed an aptitude for chasing to some degree. Cleni Night was turned out just 5-days later in a Claiming hurdle here and the effort had clearly taken its toll as she failed to finish. She has had 12 days to recover, but this will still be a 3rd start in 17-days and that would be an obvious concern. Mr Lulu hasn’t run in the interim and although he is 0-7, that run last time was his best effort to date and he probably rates as the main danger to the selection, though as we are about to see, he probably has 20-lengths to find if we take the form literally.
That brings me to INDICE DES CIERGUES. He won on his debut in August, winning a claimer on the flat at St-Jean De Monts, but his subsequent form figures of FP50P were enough to make anyone question the validity of that form. However, he bounced back last time out to win a claiming hurdle here, beating the previously mentioned Contre Ordre by 4-lengths. He travelled extremely strongly in that contest and could be called the winner from a long way out. Having made a close examination of his form, it may be that the slightly better going and more patient ride were the key, so it is pleasing to see Thomas Henderson retain the ride for his chase debut. The Grall yard had a treble here last Sunday, of which he was the 3rd leg and with their team going so well, it will be disappointing if he can’t back up that effort.
If there is an unknown quantity in the race then it is the filly at the bottom of the weights, UZURI MBAYA. She won a small race at Nimes in November and has backed that up with a 3rd place finish here over hurdles on 13th January. She also has chase experience, finishing 3rd and 6th in 2 race at Fontainebleau in the autumn, albeit that she was beaten a fair way on both occasions. The yard are struggling a little bit for form, but in receipt of weight from all of her 6 rivals, she does retain potential at this level, although Indice des Ciergues has achieved more.