Things didn’t go to plan with yesterday’s piece as despite being well backed, My Charming Prince ran well below his best and the writing was on the wall at halfway when he was dropped in behind a steady pace. I don’t like to make sweeping statements, but a lot of French races do have a tendency to be steadily run and on speed tracks like Salon-de-Provence, it can be a huge advantage to race on the front end. There we are, I’ve got my excuse in for a poor selection, and we will move on to Thursday. We have 2 meetings today, a mixed morning card at Senonnes and then a Flat evening card in the south at La Teste.
I will be very surprised if Le Listrac doesn’t win at Senonnes. He was a grade 1 winner as a 4-year-old and looks to have been found a superb opportunity to make a winning return this season in a race for horses that haven’t won in a higher grade in the last year. He won a similar contest at Dax last September and should really be a point and shoot ride for Charlotte Prichard, who is riding out of her skin at present. I’m reluctant to make a selection that opens as a 4/7 favourite, but I can also say that I have studied this race for around 40 minutes, and I have struggled to make a case for anything else to beat him. We have a mix of staying chasers, cross-country types and low-grade handicappers, many of whom are wrong at the weights with a Graded performer. After his Dax win, he returned to Auteuil and ran perfectly well to suggest that he is the 69-rated horse the handicapper thinks he is.
In search of better value, I will also suggest a small each-way investment on Sea of Ash in the penultimate race at La Teste this evening. This is a competitive Class 2 contest over a mile and after a couple of promising runs this season, she makes some each-way appeal. We Ride the World sets the standard and he has won over this course and distance in the past, but this will be his 72nd career start and he does need everything to go right to win these days. Although Maroon Six or Dizzy should go forwards and make this a truly run affair, it isn’t guaranteed, and I think that it is fair to say that he doesn’t have the turn-of-foot that he once had. Mon Bel Canto has been installed as the early favourite, but for me this trip is too short, and he just doesn’t win often enough to take a short price about him. He had every chance at Toulouse last time and just found the 10-furlongs too sharp, so how will this 1-mile suit if the race is run in similar fashion?
With an angle against the top of the market and Perle Rouge declared a Non-Runner, that left me with Sea of Ash. She finished 2nd to Topgear at Chantilly in April which reads well in the context of this race and is easily forgiven her 10thplace finish in a Saint-Cloud handicap when she got no run from the rear of the field. She does have the speed to win over this trip, as she showed when winning at Deauville in January under Cristian Demuro who returns to ride today. The only time that she has finished out of the frame on a right-handed track came when she was down the field in last year’s French 1,000 Guineas and in a race with plenty of question marks in the form, she should hit the frame at around 13/2 (at time of writing).