The first premium Flat meeting of 2021 gets going this weekend with 2 days of action on the all-weather at Deauville. There are 18 races across the 2 days and this meeting certainly has some quantity, if perhaps not so much quality on offer.
Saturdays card starts with 3 conditions races for the older horses, all with 6 runners going to post. In such small fields, the races are likely to be very tactical and as such I think it will pay to favour horses who will be able to dictate the pace, or at least race prominently. I’ll leave the opener, as although Bellanodine would look to have solid claims, stall 1 has definitely been a disadvantage at Deauville in recent months, with just 3 winners from 115 races at the end of 2020.
My first selection on the card with be LIGHT IN THE DARK in the 11:05. This daughter of Dark Angel has been running very consistently this autumn and was 2nd last time out at Lyon La Soie, when sightly unlucky as the winner was able to dictate the pace and got first run turning into the straight. Light in the Dark chased hard all the way to the line, in a manner that suggested her time was coming. Through a couple of recent runs, she would look to hold Poet’s Black and Adelphie, her 2 main rivals here. Stephane Pasquier should be able to bounce out from stall 5 and get a prominent position before using her speed to kick clear on the run to the line.
The next race at 11:35, is the Saint-James Stakes for 5-year-olds and over, in which, Makzeem is likely to be a very warm order, having been 5th in a Listed race on its last start. That was a very solid effort, when he ran on well from the rear. On that piece of form he deserves to be favourite, however, I’m not convinced enough to row in at the likely cramped odds as I think he was flattered by a collapsing pace and in truth did little more than run on past beaten horses. For that reason, I will take him on with MILORD’S SONG, from the Wattel yard. Milord’s Song was an unlucky 5th in a similar contest over 6 1/2 furlongs last month, when he didn’t get the gaps in the straight and finished full of running. Picking a horse with a record of 1-18 is always a risk, but he has consistently held his form this autumn and this smaller field is likely to suit. The race would look to be between the 2 of them and provided he gets a clear passage, Milord’s Song should run the favourite very close.
My final selection comes at 1:50, in a 3-year-old claiming race over 7-furlongs. Several of these runners have solid claims, with Demonstration and Nico having run very well in this grade recently, whilst the German raider What’s Up was thought good enough to run in group level on it’s 2nd start in July, though it has not been seen since. However, I’ll take a chance on Gay Kelleway’s CAPLA KNIGHT. The yard is no stranger to having runners in France and certainly knows how to take of advantage of the better prize money on offer across the channel, so this could well be an excellent piece of placement. Capla Knight has run with credit in the UK, including a win in a claimer at Chelmsford in October, followed by 2 more solid efforts over 7-furlongs at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford since. Although he is drawn in stall 11, he has consistently broken well from the stalls, so I am confident enough that he will be able to get across into a handy position and he definitely represents some solid each-way value in an open race.
11:05 - LIGHT IN THE DARK - 1 PT WIN
11:35 - MILORD'S SONG - 0.5 PT WIN
13:50 - CAPLA KNIGHT - 0.5 PT EACH-WAY