Best Bet - 4th January 2022
6:45 Marseille - Max Verst 0.5pt Win (11/2 Bet365)
This piece was actually written in advance of the markets opening, but the current prices are as expected so it looks like it is worth opposing the principles in this 10-furlong maiden. Let’s start by ruling out a couple of the runners as Joli Sun Ska and Star is Born haven’t shown anything significant on the track so far and it is very hard to recommend them. This race looks to be a match between ANOTHER YOUNI and JOHNNY LOVE, who have both obtained an official rating of 34.5 from the French handicapper. The met in a similar maiden here last month, with Johnny Love (2nd) and Another Youni (3rd) separated by just a length. That race was run in a relatively slow time, 3s slower than the course average and the winner, Esprit Joyeux, dominated the race from the front, stacking them up and then kicking for home at the 3-furlong pole. The obvious concern with both is that they were readily outpaced the moment they began to sprint, a fact that is born out by some of their previous form and in a small field, with no obvious pace angle in the race, they could be vulnerable again if this race follows a similar pattern. There is certainly enough doubt to make me want to take them on at relatively short odds and I find it hard to make a case for either being worth their current marks.
Richard Chotard had 2 winners here last month and he has 2 runners here, with MARRANTE ridden by Marie Velon and the only newcomer in the field, MAX VERST ridden by Anthony Crastus. Marrante made a solid start to her career when she finished 2nd on debut at Le Mans in May, but she hasn’t built on that since and was readily outpaced when last seen at Deauville. She looks awkward at times under pressure and it is hard to see how she will be suited by the tight turns and short straights of Marseille. This is a speed track, with the entire circuit just under 7-furlongs and with doubts over the turn-of-foot of the 5 with experience, it is worth taking a chance on MAX VERST. He is a son of Jean-luc Lagardere winner Ultra, out of a Group 2 placed mare and on paper he has a pedigree that would suggest that he should be fairly precocious. The widest draw may not be ideal, but in a small field that shouldn’t be too much of an issue for him. Anthony Crastus takes the ride, he has a 14% strike rate at the track and although he lacks experience, this is a particularly weak maiden and he is worth chancing with a small stakes at 11/2.