1:50 Deauville - 4YO+ C3 Prix De Saint-Julien Le Faucon
MUBAALEGH - 0.5pt WIN (6/1 Betfair, SKYBET)
8 runners go to post for this Class 3 conditions race and it is fair to say that the majority are relatively exposed at this stage of their careers. The 4-year-olds, RED TORCH, ASTONISHER and VENTURA VISION look to be up against it on the bare figures, though the latter did reach a rating of 67 for Mark Johnston in the UK and is at least less exposed after 1 start in France. That said, with no obvious improver lurking in the ranks, this looks quite likely to concern those at the top of the ratings. BARDO won when last seen at Strasbourg in November and given his sire Siyouni’s excellent record on the AW, he could improve again this year, but there is no doubt that this is a much deeper race than he has previously contested and he probably has 15lbs to find to actually win. NAAB has won 9 races, including at Class 2 level back in 2019, but as an 8-year-old returning from an 11-month absence, he is easy enough to overlook today.
That brings me to the principles. ZEROSTRESS and EURYALE finished 2nd and 3rd in a similar contest here in January. The filly who won that contest, Shalgoda Diamond was well beaten on her next start, albeit stepped up to Class 2 company and given the way the race panned out, there is some decent evidence to suggest they are both worth taking on. The winner set a strong pace, with ZEROSTRESS tracking her through whilst EURYALE was held a further 2-lengths back. EURYALE was set more to do, but the speedometer on the France-Galop replay shows that the pace slowed considerably in the final 300-metres, yet he didn’t get any closer. Meanwhile, having loomed up on the outside, ZEROSTRESS looked the winner at the furlong pole, only for him to raise his head and refuse to go by. His career record stands at 2-17, with a return of 0-4 in France and he has finished 2nd on each his last 3 starts, despite travelling well. With such a record I am itching to try and take him on, especially at 4/5 on. That brought me to MUBAALEGH. Trained by Jean-Vincent Toux, he does know how to win, with a record of 7 wins from his 21 starts, including both his starts in Class 3 company. Although he has been off the track since September, he has run well off a break in the past and in receipt of 3-kilos from his main rival, he is overpriced at 6s.