The 2nd day of a mammoth all weather meeting at Deauville, these cards have certainly not lacked in quantity and we have another 9 race card with a maximum 126 entries this Saturday. The all weather surface has started to ride more evenly in recent meetings and as such the draw bias has lessened somewhat, resulting in fewer hard luck stories. Similar to Chantilly, it pays to be with horses who have a turn of foot as most of the races here only develop as the field comes off the home bend. Being able to avoid the far side rail, where the surface is definitely slower in the straight is the key to winning. Hopefully I have found a few decent opportunities on the card.
We start early at 10:35 with a 4-year-old claimer. Given that Pierre-Charles Boudot has been booked, Dream Academy will most likely be popular, but that confidence will be based more on the jockey booking than the horse’s recent form. The race revolves around Ascot Jungle, who is a typically speedy daughter of Bungleinthejungle and will most likely tear off and set a fast early pace from stall 8. That will help make it a fairly run race, but she is 0-9 and hasn’t shown enough to make me think she is capable of sustaining her gallop all the way to the line, for all that she drops in trip here. Seven Songs would have a chance, as he was a winner of a similar race at Chantilly in October, but he has been off since and definitely benefitted from a collapsing pace on that occasion. The horse that I am most keen on is INSIGHTFUL for the Cerulis team. He was 4th over course and distance last time, when he got very little racing room in the straight. He is a very strong traveller, which should suit with the likely strong early pace and a repeat of his last run, with a bit more luck in running, should be enough to see him go very close at a likely each-way price.
At 11:35 we have a 3-year-old maiden over 7-furlongs. There are 4 newcomers and as ever it will be worth looking for any market clues, but there is nothing particularly obvious on breeding. Rouvray sets a clear standard and has run consistently in his 5 starts, including when 4th in handicap company last time. However, he has looked to be quite one paced and although this 7-furlong trip will help, on balance I think he is a vulnerable favourite and worth taking on. Great Charlie was slowly away on debut at Pornichet and did well to finish 3rd, but he was beaten 7 lengths and looks like he will need more time and distance to be seen at his best. That approach could also apply to Zaky and Beni Khiar.
For that reason, I am relatively confident that MYSTERIOUS LAND is the answer to the puzzle. He was 5th last time out over course and distance, but that doesn’t tell the whole story as he was held up in rear in what turned out to be a steadily run race. He was forced to come around runners and did well to finish as close as he did, quickening very nicely in the final 2-furlongs. With a more prominent ride, which should be possible from stall 3, he will hopefully be in a better position to use his natural speed on the run to the line.
My final selection comes at 12:40, where we have another 3-year-old maiden, this time for the fillies. Most of this field look like longer term projects on paper and it may well come down to those at the head of the market. Lady Gabriela will be a warm order (another ride for Boudot), she made a nice debut and can be forgiven her 2nd start, when she raced on the wrong side of a split field on the sprint track at Chantilly. She ended up in no mans land in the closing stages and was allowed to come home gently when it became obvious her chance was gone. She is better judged on her debut effort, when she travelled very nicely and in time could well be the best of these. However, 7-furlongs here on the all-weather is sharp enough and being out of a Galileo mare, she may want a longer trip than this. For that reason, I think she is worth taking on with the aptly named HARD HEADED WOMAN, who could be hard to beat. She was 3rd on debut here last month when she travelled very well, but had to wait for the gaps to appear in the closing stages and the winner got first run on her. She quickened nicely when the gap finally came, in a manner that would suggest she is more than capable of winning a winter maiden like this.
10:35 - Insightful - 0.5pt each-way
11:35 - Mysterious Land - 0.5pt WIN
12:40 - Hard Headed Woman - 0.5pt WIN