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Fontainebleau 2nd December

For a midweek card, there is a fair smattering of quality across Wednesdays card at Fontainebleau. The winter ground has definitely set in and the likely soft going should work in the favour of those who are ridden more prominently.

We start at 11:00, with a Cross-Country chase. Like many of the races at Fontainebleau, this race requires a Sat-Nav, as the runners weave their way across the various courses, negotiating banks and hedges as well as more conventional obstacles. This is not the biggest stamina test of the French cross-country tracks and as a result, races often take longer to develop and can become a sprint in the final 4-furlongs. The horse I like tomorrow is Champi De Bersy, who was a winner over course and distance at the start of November, when he held off Eeze a Saint, who reopposes here. In recent years, Champi De Bersy has developed into a cross-country specialist and has experience of this track, which is priceless. His win in November was off the back of a 536 day break and the closing sectional times he produced suggest there was no fluke about it and he should represent some good value to follow up.

By far the most interesting horse on the card is Eddy De Balme, who runs in the feature chase at 12:30. Francois Nicolle’s charge returns from a 600 day absence and so his fitness does need to be taken on trust. However, the yard definitely has the capability to ready one after a break and the form he showed as 4-year-old, including when 3rd in the Grade 1 Maurice Gillois Chase at Auteuil is considerably stronger than anything else in this field. If he is fit and ready to go, he should have enough class to take this race before moving on to better things over the winter.

My final selection on the card is Honey Du Granit, who runs for Guillaume Macaire in the 3-year-old hurdle at 1:47. This daughter of Balko hacked up on her chase debut over course and distance on 3rd November, making all the running and pulling clear in the straight to record a 10-length victory. She reverts to hurdles here, but showed enough speed in her last start to suggest that she will cope with this switch in codes without any fuss and if she is able to get to the lead, she could be very hard to catch.


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