The better of the 2 premium cards on Thursday is at Deauville, but after 3 weeks of almost continuous racing the track is starting to show the signs and havin poured over the 2 cards, I think Chateaubriant looks to have some better opportunities for Punters. Chateuabriant is a right handed track in western France that hosts Flat, Jumps and even Trotting races throughout the summer. The track has very tight bends and long straights so although you need a balanced horse, the races here tend to be very fair and you don’t see too many hard luck stories so it can be rewarding for punters. We have a mixed card this Thursday that starts at 10:45 (UK time), 6 races on the Flat followed by 2 hurdles to end the card.
I must admit to having a biased view on this card so I thought I would start by getting that out of the way. If you follow me on twitter (@GeeGeeBanker) then you may have seen a tweet I posted last month regarding SPES MILITURF after he won at Pompadour last month. He runs in Race 7 at 1:58, the first of 2 hurdle races.
Trained by Lageneste and Macaire, he arrives here with a perfect record of 3 from 3, all over hurdles in the Provinces and its highly likely that most of you won’t have heard of him, but I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that he could be the most exciting hurdles prospect in France. The times of his victories at Pompadour have been exceptional and he has won all 3 races by a combined 38-lengths. The 4th placed horse from his last start on 31st July, Saint Chely, also trained by Lageneste and Macaire, finished a close 2nd in a decent Chase at Clairefontaine on Tuesday this week and he was the best part of half a furlong behind Spes Militurf last time. Officially rated 63 (140 UK), this is the toughest test he has faced so far, with Anjou Bleu arriving here seeking a hat-trick and Loup Nonantaise returning from a break after running well in the spring, but I still think he will have far too much class, in spite of the weight he has to give away. He had 4 other entries in the next few days so it is probably another tick in the box that connections have chosen this race over others at Vittel, Pompadour and Dieppe. He is very unlikely to be a betting proposition, I price him at 4/11 on in this line up but you don’t have to have a bet to enjoy a race and it is always nice to see a potential star on their way up the ladder.
We start at 10:45 (UK time) with a 3-year-old maiden over 1-mile 5-furlongs. Having looked at this race initially, I was ready to suggest that Shaiyma was a likely good thing in this race as she was unlucky to be beaten “on the bob” at Le Touquet on 30th July. That would look to set an obvious standard in a race that probably won’t take too much winning. However, having watched the replay of that race at Le Touquet a couple of times, I can’t help but think she threw the race away. Having closed on the leader Nizami, she is definitely in front with 50 yards to go and allows Nizami to get back up. Whilst she clearly improved on her debut performance, the doubts over her finishing out the race and the fact that the time of that race was also pretty poor (4-seconds slower than the 0-25 handicap on the same card) I think she could be worth taking on. A horse in the famous Aga Khan silks, trained by Alain De Royer Dupre is always likely to be picked up on by the UK bookmakers and for that reason I think we may well get a bigger price about A La Folie than we should.
She finished 2nd in a decent newcomers race at Clairefontaine 3 weeks ago, when she made good late progress to come through horses to finish 2nd, beaten a length. The 3rd placed horse from that race, Norge, ran well at the same track last week and I think overall it can be considered a very pleasing debut. She is by Zoffany, out of Almost Always, an unraced mare who is the daughter of Galileo and Irish Oaks winner Ramruna, so stamina is going to be her forte and I think there shouldn’t be any issue in seeing out the extended trip. This looks to be a decent opportunity for her and she has been found a nice race by her trainer, Jean-Pierre Dubois.
The feature race is Race 3 at 11:45, with a Class 2 conditions race for the older horses over the extended 1-mile 5-furlongs. Having looked at this race for some time, I can’t find an angle. For varying reasons, poor recent form being the main one, I can only really find reasons to take the entire field on and something has to win it. On ratings, Home Sweet Home should win, but she has looked woefully out of form in 2020 and even though she returns from a break, it would be a brave punt to take her at face value. Redkan is unbeaten, 2 wins from 2 starts and has been supplemented for this race, but he has been winning in Class 4 and probably needs to find 30lbs of improvement to feature here. If pushed, I would have this race between Young Merlin and Checkpoint Charlie, but it’s not the sort of race I would like to part with any actual cash to try and solve.
My final pick on the card comes in Race 4 at 12:15 with a Class 4 handicap for the older horses over just shy of 10-furlongs. There is one key piece of form in this race that stands out and that comes from a similar handicap held at Saint-Malo on 5th August. The 2nd, Anse De Bel'amande and the 3rd, Gormlaith reoppose in this race and hold the key to it. They both raced in mid-division and were side by side as they turned in to the straight. The winner of that race, Saglyacat made a bee line from the far side rail and was a clear best on the day, but the race was run in a decent time for the grade and I think the performance of these 2 horses on that day is the strongest piece of form on offer in this field. Anse De Bel'amande pulled away from Gormlaith in the closing stages and finished 3 lengths in front of her in the end, with the exact same difference at the weights here, I don’t see any reason for that form to be reversed here and under the talented Lucie Oger, I expect her to pick up an 8th career win.