Pau 27th January
This Wednesdays action comes from Pau and whilst we do not have the quality seen at the Grand Prix meeting on Sunday, it is still set to be an interesting mixed card. The all-weather track has thrown up a lot of random results in recent weeks and having had my fingers burnt a few times, I think it's time to admit defeat for the moment, so I have focussed on the jumps races.
The jumps starts at 11:00 (UK time) with a claiming chase for the older horses over 2-miles 7-furlongs. It is quite unusual to see a race over this distance on a midweek card and stamina could well be the key to solving it. Most of this field arrive here with questionable form and certainly questionable stamina. On previous form, Baron du Seuil would be a clear pick, but it is some time since he ran to his best and at 10-years-old, having pulled up on his 2 most recent starts, I couldn't back him with any faith. Fundy is another in the field who has shown he has some ability, indeed he was still travelling nicely when coming down 4 out last time and would be of interest, but this trip is a big question and it was a horrific fall last time so he would need to prove that he is over that.
The horse I like is DON'T WORRY for the Pacault yard. This is one of the few runners in the field with confirmed stamina, as he showed when finishing 3rd in a much better contest over course and distance in a similar race 10 days ago. The excellent claimer Lea Suisse takes the ride and she is well worth her 9lb claim and I expect Don't Worry to go very close when most of the others begin to tire in the latter stages. Provided that Lea Suisse can get him into a nice rhythm and tracks the pace, we should definitely get a good run for our money.
In the following race at 11:30, we have another claiming chase, this time for the 4-year-olds. 8 runners go to post, but it is not a very deep contest and the key piece of form would appear to be between Mark Nova and my selection, MIRABELLAS. These 2 met in a similar race on 8th January, when they finished 2nd and 3rd. Mirabellas was definitely the horse to take from that, as she ran on really well after the last. She has since added to that by finishing 3rd again in a deeper race 7 days later. Another talented claiming jockey, Bertrand Bourez takes the ride tomorrow and I fully expect him to ride Mirabellas more prominently and she should be able to reverse the form with Mark Nova. A key danger to both is Hisatys, from the Grall yard, who was last seen finishing 2nd in a claiming hurdle here 2 weeks ago. That was a decent run, but the race was run at a fierce early pace and she was perhaps flattered by being held up and running on late, passing beaten horses. On her chase debut, in a small field, I am happy to take her on this time.
The final race I have looked at is at 12:00, with a hurdle race for the 4-year-old geldings. There are 2 interesting newcomers, Hydro Link and Impose Ta Loi, any market support for either of these, given their connections should be noted. However, of those that have racecourse experience, there is not a great deal of depth and so this race may not take too much winning.
Designed Survivor may well be popular, as he has run with credit on the flat and has a record of 7-1-3, but being a son of Due Diligence he isn't bred for hurdles on Heavy ground in the middle of winter, so I think he is very opposable. VERIGNY has been well backed on both his starts so far, at Compiegne in the summer and then at Lyon in November. On both occasions he has travelled well, but has shown signs of greeness and has been too keen to do himself justice. He has been given some time by Gab Leenders, who has been in much better form recently and has been found a very good opportunity to get off the mark and confirm the confidence that has been shown in him.
Good luck if you're following and please gamble responsibly