Racing returns to Le Touquet this Friday. Situated in northern France this right handed track offers both Flat and Jumps races and we have a 7-race card on the level to look at tomorrow, starting at 1:20 UK time.
We open with a claimer for the 2-year-olds over an extended 6 furlongs. The tight right-hand bends here can make the draw very important as horses drawn wide are forced to drop in, whilst those on the inside can find themselves swamped in the opening furlong if they don't break smartly. Ideally, it pays to look for horses drawn between stalls 3 and 7 as they have the best chance of racing in a decent position.
Of those with experience, Dear Ruby has probably achieved the most in her 4 starts. Having been given an official rating of 35.5 after her 4 starts, she was last seen finishing 5th in a hot claimer at Saint-Malo on 4th July, beaten less than 6-lengths by Blind Drunk who was in the middle of a hat-trick at that time and has won again since. That sets the standard and looking at the opposition if she repeats that effort she should go close under Theo Batchelot.
Java James is one to note, having run well for a long way at Nantes on debut last month before tiring in the final furlong. The drop in trip on a flatter track should help, but looking at her pedigree I can’t help but feel she will be better on the all-weather and may find this soft ground too testing. Money for any of the newcomers should certainly be noted, with the Meijer yard running 2. They aren’t known for first time out winners, but any confidence, in particular behind Duchesse, a daughter of Morandi who has 5 winning siblings, would be very significant. Its a similar story with the other newcomer, Jacasse Camara from the Viel yard. He has a mixed pedigree but doesn’t leap of the page as a 2-year-old winner in waiting and so will probably need further and more time to feature.
Pandora really should be better than she has shown so far, by Olympic Glory, she is related to five winners in her immediate family and her dam won her first 2 starts, but she has shown very little in 5 runs so far and makes very little appeal from the widest draw.
In truth, this won’t take much winning and for that reason I think it is worth backing Dear Ruby. Theo Batchelot knows his way around here and from a decent draw in stall 6, I think she has to do little more than run to her official mark to win this. Her dam won as a 2-year-old and placed in Listed company over sprint trips so I think there is enough to suggest she should be able to win at this lowly level, though I doubt the race will be one to follow in the longer term.
Race 3 is the Prix Treve, a maiden for 3-year-olds named after the dual Arc winner over an extended 1m5f. To quote my good friend Jordan Hopkins, who if you don’t follow on Twitter you should (@jhopkins867), this is a “boat race”. On paper, this looks a decent staying race, with sons and daughters of Australia, Frankel, Intel and Golden Horn in the lineup, but from what they have shown on the track so far, we may need a sundial rather than a stopwatch to record this. Now that is probably being a bit rude, in time, many of these will no doubt win some staying races and make me look foolish, but right now its hard to see many positives in the form.
Standing out like a sore thumb is Nizami, a German raider for the Andreas Wohler yard. Whilst he may look slightly exposed with a record of 0-6, he has run well in some decent races, including when beaten less than 4 lengths in a decent class 2 contest at Strasbourg on his last start in France in June. He hit the front slightly too soon on that occasion and was picked off in the closing stages by Mika D'o, who was given a brilliant ground saving ride on the day. That was still a very decent effort and suggested his official rating of 37.5 is more than fair. He has shown that he handles the forecast soft ground and in the early markets rates as some decent value given the form on offer.
His main danger in the market is likely to be Life Is Too Short from the Boutin yard. He finished 3rd at Clairefontaine in a Newcomers maiden 3 weeks ago. Making decent headway from the rear of mid-division, that was a nice start to his career. However, the race was run at a ridiculously slow gallop and the overall time was 5s slower than the fillies maiden on the same card. Although the form has not yet been tested, given that slow time figure I would be quite happy to take him on, especially from stall 1, which can be tricky to overcome at this track for inexperienced horses.
Indiana James makes a little bit of appeal as the only newcomer in the lineup. Coming from the Adda yard, he has been supplemented for this race and connections have chosen this entry, rather than 2 others he had over the weekend. He comes from a decent family and his dam won 2 of her first 3 starts, so there is every chance he will know his job on debut. In Nizami he meets a rival who sets a very decent standard and he may well be one to watch with a view to backing him next time, but he looks the part on paper. The final horse to mention is Lyra Star for Andre Fabre. Any horse from this yard is always going to be popular and she is certainly bred to win a race of this nature. However, she hasn’t really shown anything of note on her 3 runs to date and it is very hard to be enthusiastic about her chances, even if there was market confidence behind her.
The handicaps on the card are relatively low grade 0-25 contests and its hard to find any confident selection in those races but there is one horse thats worth waiting for in the last race. The 4:50 is a 3-year-old maiden over 10-furlongs and I am really looking forwards to seeing Shariyar. Trained by Mikel Dezangles for the Aga Khan, this son of Exceed and Excel is out of Shalanaya who won the Group 1 Prix de L’Opera and is easily the most promising horse on the card. He has finished 2nd on both starts to day in 2 very decent maidens at Compiegne and Dieppe. He has run well on both occasions behind very promising types, as well as showing that he stays well and handles softer conditions. He steps up in trip slightly for this race, which should not be too much of an issue and looks to have been found a good opportunity to shed his maiden tag, albeit I don’t expect him to be much above Evens in the betting markets and may well be one to watch and wait for him to compete at a higher level in the future.