We move on to Wednesday and although it wasn’t a perfect result with yesterday’s selections, it was good to see Charmino land an 8th course win at Nantes and the fact that he was available to back at 10/11 means we came close to breaking even. Before I come to Wednesday’s selection, I do want to mention Balsam, who is taking her chance in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. She is already a Listed winner, and she has form in the book with Les Pavots and Zorken, which puts her very close to the top of the French juvenile ranks. Whether that is good enough to see her be competitive in a race like the Queen Mary remains to be seen, but her connections look like they mean business with the eye-catching jockey booking of Ryan Moore and hopefully she can run a big race.
It is fair to say that Wednesday’s racing in France leaves a lot to be desired. The meeting at Salon-de-Provence probably won’t live that long in the memory, but the opening Class 2 contest has a smattering of quality, and it is in this race (at an early time of 10:15) that this selection comes.
10:15 – Prix Jean-Claude Napoli
MY CHARMING PRINCE
A field of 5 go to post for this Class 2 contest over 12-furlongs, but I think it is fair to say that we can rule out Mont Steele fairly easily. With an official rating of 27-kilos, he is the best part of 2-stone wrong with his 4 rivals, even allowing for his riders claim and it will be a big shock if he is here for anything other than the €1,100 for 5th place. Scenariste is the next to have a line through her name as she has looked out of form since a good win at Marseille at the turn of the year. The step back up in trip may help, but she has a lot to do on these terms and her best figures in the last 12-months have come on the PSF.
Now it gets a little bit trickier. I do like Belgian Prince, but as a 2-miler. He has won twice already this year, but both wins came over further and in contests that favored stamina. He may get to lead and force the pace, but he isn’t certain to and in a small field on a speed track like this, the percentage call is to oppose him. I also like Laos and if he wins, it could look like a shrewd piece of placement to supplement him into this. However, he saves his best form for the winter, particularly at Cagnes-Sur-Mer and having had every chance at Marseille Vivaux last time, he was readily outpaced when it mattered. So, by the process of elimination, I am left with My Charming Prince. Although he has only won 4 of his 41 starts, he has placed a further 25 times and he has been plying most of his trade in top level handicaps in the North, so this is a slight drop in grade for him.
Perhaps more importantly, he does have a turn-of-foot and had enough speed to finish 2nd in a Quinte handicap at Paris Longchamp on his last start, beaten less than a length by Plain Beau. That is the strongest recent form on offer. The yard are having a good season, with 22 winners already on the board in 2023, including 3 of their last 20-runners and this looks to be a very good piece of placement for an €11,000 prize.