Wednesday's racing comes from Strasbourg, with an 8-race mixed card marking the start of their 2022 season. After the excitement of Saint-Cloud on Tuesday, this card doesn't quite reach the same heights, but there are 1 or 2 highlights to look forwards to. Most notably there is a 3-year-old maiden at 12:25, with several German trained horses crossing the border. Christophe Soumillon has an interesting book of rides, with Millionaire for Henk Grewe in that maiden, as well as Yellowblue in the later handicap. The latter looks the better of his 2 chances as he steps up in trip for the first time, but having looked at the Flat races, nothing leapt off the page. Instead, the best bet comes from one of the 3 jumps races on the card, with the handicap hurdle at 1:07 (UK time) looking like a great opportunity for the top weight.
1:07 Strasbourg - Paolo - Each-Way
This is a 16-runners handicap hurdle over 3800 metres and whilst there are lots of runners, there is a distinct lack of recent form and that could leave the race open to the top weight PAOLO. The conditions for this race allow horses up to a official rating of 56-kilos, so Paolo sneaks in at the top on a mark of 55.5, but with his riders useful 4-kilo claim he is very well treated. Gauvain Faivre-Picon is a potential star of the future and has ridden 2 winners and 11 placed finishes from his 19 rides so far in 2022, so the 4-kilos is an added bonus. Paolo has won 3 of his 14 starts and although he isn’t likely to find that much improvement, his recent form would suggest that he is capable of running to his current mark and that could be enough in this contest.
He won at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in early December and maintained a fair level of form in 3 subsequent starts on the south-coast through their winter series. He was then set a more daunting assignment when he was sent to Pisa in Italy for the Grade 1 Premio Gran Corsa Siepi Nazionale, where he finished an admirable 4th. The 3 horses to finish ahead of him all have solid graded form in the book and the 3rd has gone in on his next start in Milan to boost the form. A repeat of that effort should see him go close back in calmer waters. Davide Satalia has his stable in fine form, with 7 of his last 10 runners finishing in the frame and he could build on that with Paolo.
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