Prix Ronde De Nuit - 21st March
Turf racing returns to Chantilly on Tuesday, but you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a meeting being held in the UK if you were to have a brief glance at the entries for the feature race. There will be 9-runners going to post for the Listed Prix Ronde de Nuit, a sprint for 3-year-olds over the extended 5-furlong trip, but 6 of them are trained in the UK. It's not unusual to see raiders from the UK and Ireland in this race, especially as it offers the chance to run on the turf a couple of weeks before the British turf season kicks off at Doncaster. There were 3 runners from the UK and Ireland in the 2022 running, Fearless Angel (David Loughnane), Elliptic (Donnacha O'Brien) and Favourite Child (Karl Burke), who finished 2nd, 3rd and 5th respectively, whilst in 2021 Silent Queen finished unplaced for George Boughey. This year there is a dominance from the British runners, with several who have run in France before. I don't propose to go through every horse and assess their chances, I have placed a link to the official card with France- Galop at the bottom of this piece if you wish to take a look, but this is the sort of race that I like to look for an angle into, as the French-trained horses are likely to be overpriced in the market with so many familiar names amongst the entries. The table below shows the current statistics and form guides for the 9-runners and as you can see we have quite a wide range of ability and achievement on the track to sift through.
Based on their 2022 form as Juveniles, I have no doubt that the George Boughey trained PROVERB is the best horse in this race. He has won his last 3 starts, all over the 5-furlong trip and his victory in the Listed Criterium de Vitesse at Paris Longchamp in October looks to be the strongest form on offer. With the yard going well at present, he is likely to be a relatively short price to make it 4 in a row when the markets open, but I can find reasons to oppose him. He has a penalty to carry for that Listed success and the draw can be so important on the sprint course that stall 8 would give me enough cause for concern that I would be happy to oppose him. Now he might get lucky, Mickael Barzalona is riding at the peak of his powers and has a good record here and with the Mick Appleby trained Michaela's Boy in stall 6 likely to go forwards, he may well get a tow into the race, but there is no doubt that he will need some luck to get his season off to a winning start. So instead, I will take him on with one of the "home team" who may well be overlooked despite the good draw.
Trained by Tim Donworth, this daughter of Kodiac has already run well over the sprint course at Chantilly, breaking her maiden tag here in June after a promising debut 4-weeks earlier. She finished a length behind her stablemate in the Listed Prix De La Vallee D'Auge in August at Deauville and can be forgiven her 10th placed effort in the Group 3 Prix D'Arenberg on her last start when the draw went against her. She remains a very promising filly. Having shown good early speed in the past, she will surely be sent forwards into a prominent position by Cristian Demuro and with the rail to help, I will be very surprised if she isn't involved in the closing stages. She recorded a furlong average of 11.62s on her last start, which puts her just behind the principles here, but given that she has already won over 1,200 meters, there can be no doubts about her seeing out the extended trip. Demuro and Donworth have a 20% strike rate when they have teamed up in the last 12-months and they look to have found a good opportunity to add some more Black Type to her CV.