James Reveley achieved his summit by winning the premier French Grand-Steeplechase on Sunday on an extraordinarily good 5-y-o called, appropriately, So French:
James Reveley achieved his summit by winning the premier French Grand-Steeplechase on Sunday on an extraordinarily good 5-y-o called, appropriately, So French:
After a brief break in France I’m now looking forward to a proper early season day’s racing tomorrow. This is the time of year when picking the early stars can be very profitable before their odds shorten. So the cards under scrutiny are Wincanton, Aintree and Naas. (Stars equal unit bets.)
12.20 Wishfull Dreaming 7/5 *
12.55 King of Glory 7/4 **
1.30 Arpege Dalene 6/4 (nap) **** (this one will win)
2.05 No bet
2.40 Kayf Willow 5/1 *
3.15 Francis Of Assisi 11/2 *** (best value bet)
3.50 No bet
12.45 Definite Outcome Evens ***
1.20 No bet
1.55 Broxbourne 7/2 **
2.30 Simonsig 15/8 *** (was going to oppose but the price is too good to miss)
3.05 De Boitron 8/1 * (a speculative punt)
3.40 Germany Calling 5/4 **** (a confident selection)
4.10 No bet (too early for bumpers although I will watch the market)
1.25 Petite Parisienne 8/13 **** (next best)
2.35 Sub Lieutenant 11/8 *** (excellent value)
3.10 Disko (1/3) ***** (today’s only 5 star selection)
At £10 per unit the outlay is £350.
If you want a lower overall stake I recommend a Lucky 15 as follows:
Arpege Dalene (1.30 Wincanton)
Definite Outcome (12.45 Aintree)
Germany Calling (3.40 Aintree)
Sub Lieutenant (2.35 Naas) or Disco (3.10 Naas)
The potential returns are £119.27/£15 Sub Lieutenant and £82.15/£15 Disco plus all the place options, doubles and trebles.
I’m very pleased to see that Ocovango is currently 10/1 for the Derby.
On Facebook last week I said that I would put up my reasons why he’s the outstanding candidate for the race and I’ve seen nothing in the meantime to change my view.
Andre Fabre is a master. Pour Moi was a very deserving winner of the 2011 Derby with a Saint-Cloud prep and a record of 1-3-1-8 going into the race.
Ocovango has followed broadly the same route but with a much better record: 1-1-1 Ocovango wins the Prix Greffulhe. M. Fabre does not run horses in the English Derby unless they have a real chance of winning. Like Pour Moi, this horse may not run again after the Derby, but wouldn’t need to with a perfect record. The horse was brought over for Breakfast With The Stars and, although not tested, this demonstrated that the trainer regards him as a serious candidate. Owned by Prince Faisal and bred at Watership Down Stud, his pedigree for the race is impeccable. The jockey, Pierre-Charles Boudot, is not well known in England but, having reviewed the races on Youtube, I have no concerns in that regard.
Don’t get me wrong, if Dawn Approach stays 12f then he is the obvious winner but Epsom is unlikely to suit him (the same was said about his Derby winning sire) but, as an aside, Ocovango is a beautiful full-bodied 3-y-o and ideally suited for the middle distance crown of his generation.
I’ve had a win bet but, at 10/1, you should have at least an each-way bet.
It’s a very quick update this time. He’s summered well and is back in training with all going to plan at the moment. He’s 10 going 11 but lightly raced so the plan is for a campaign in south west France (Pau) and an outing in early December.
It seems from the france-galop website that the frozen off meeting a week or so ago has been rescheduled.
Quatre Heures is entered to run in the rescheduled 125eme Grande Course des Haies de Pau on Sunday. He’s fourth in a list of 37 entries with a rating of 640.
I’d like to think that we’ll wait for Auteuil but if he does run, I’ll be there with paddock comments.
UPDATE: 16 February. It does seem likely that we will be running on Sunday. Unfortunately I can’t be there but the meeting is being covered by Racing UK. It’s an 11 race card and we’re in Race 11! I hope that the ground has not cut up too badly by then. The time of the race will be announced later today.
FURTHER UPDATE: 17 February. We are now race four of nine (2.30 p.m. UK time). There are eight runners and we are joint top weight (based on recent performances). No early prices yet but I’ll provide a further update in this respect tomorrow.
Lauréat d’une course de Groupe I en Angleterre, QUATRE HEURES, revenu courir en France l’an dernier, a renoué facilement avec le succès. Son mentor François-Marie Cottin n’était nullement surpris de cette victoire. « Il n’a pas été aidé par le terrain devenu collant, mais je n’ai aucun mérite.
C’est un très bon cheval, il l’a prouvé en début de carrière en France, puis outre-Manche. Je suis surtout content pour son jockey Philip Carberry, qui n’a pas eu une très bonne année 2011. »
BRASILIEN, toujours vu près des chevaux de tête, a remarquablement surmonté sa récente pénalité de cinq kilos en obtenant une probante deuxième place. Le favori SLOW GAME s’est contenté de la troisième place après avoir longtemps animé les débats. En revanche, LA SAVANE pimentait le rapport de ce quinté en affichant la cote de 42/1. Courageuse jusqu’au bout, elle a obtenu une méritoire quatrième place après avoir bien figuré tout le parcours. AL BUCQ complétait la bonne combinaison de ce quinté. Venu progressivement près des leaders en face, il a un instant donné l’impression de pouvoir lutter avec les premiers avant de baisser pied pour finir.
Toujours à proximité des premiers, malgré quelques fautes, Quatre Heures a pris l’avantage dans le tournant final et a filé au poteau. Attentiste dans le sillage des animateurs, assez allant, Brasilien a pris une courageuse deuxième place. Grand animateur de l’épreuve, Slow Game s’est montré courageux jusqu’au bout à distance des deux premiers. Dans le sillage de l’animateur Slow Game dans le parcours, La Savane a paru en difficulté dans le dernier tournant puis s’est bien ressaisie sur le plat. Après avoir attendu au sein du peloton, Al Bucq s?est bien défendu dans la phase finale.
Tenu sur les 3800 mètres du parcours de haies palois, le Prix René Cramail réservé aux chevaux d’âge, supportait les paris à la carte du jour. À l’arrivée d’un tournoi particulièrement ouvert avant coup, Quatre Heures a sûrement dominé son sujet, constant figurant puis venant imposer sa loi dès le virage final. Brasilien a bien tenté un baroud d’honneur, sans succès pour la gagne mais titulaire d’un franc accessit d’honneur. Le favori Slow Game n’a pu contrer le jumelé gagnant mais a conservé la troisième place.
Constamment dans le rythme d’un tournoi animé sur un tempo régulier par le favori Slow Game, Quatre Heures et Philip Carberry ont fondu sur l’animateur après le saut de l’antépénultième haie puis, sans éviter une légère incartade sur l’ultime obstacle, le premier nommé maintenait le cap pour remporter sûrement le deuxième succès de son meeting. Également bien placé à la corde à proximité de la tête de course, Brasilien savait répondre à l’attaque du futur lauréat mais ne pouvait le reprendre malgré un vaillant assaut final, deuxième. Constant animateur, Slow Game ne pouvait suivre le duo gagnant à la sortie du virage final mais maintenait son effort pour monter sur la troisième marche du podium. Dans le sillage de l’animateur durant le parcours, La Savane savait prendre la quatrième place devant Al Bucq, bon finisseur.
Avant les fastes du mythique week-end du Prix d’Amérique, le dernier Quinté+ de la semaine se déroulait sur les balais palois à l’occasion du Prix René Cramail, traditionnel handicap réservé aux 5 ans et plus. Le grand favori, SLOW GAME a rapidement pris le train à son compte emmenant le peloton sur un bon tempo. SABLE DES DUNES, LA SAVANE, ROMBALDI et QUATRE HEURES se tenaient dans son sillage alors que OUH LA LA, double lauréat de cette épreuve et dans son jardin sur l’hippodrome palois, attendait son heure en toute fin de peloton, selon une tactique chère à ses aptitudes. Mais le doyen de Frédéric Danloux n’avait pas son action habituelle et il n’allait jamais pouvoir refaire le moindre pouce de terrain… Pendant ce temps, SLOW GAME abordait le dernier tournant acompagné de QUATRE HEURES qui lui mettait la pression et n’allait pas tarder à se détacher. BRASILIEN et AL BUCQ venaient ensuite alors que le reste du peloton était en assez net retrait… Malgré un franchissement de l’ultime difficulté quelque peu académique, le pensionnaire de François-Marie Cottin s’en allait quérir un très facile succès devant BRASILIEN, qui s’est remarquablement comporté malgré une forte surcharge consécutive à un récent succès enregistré à ce niveau. SLOW GAME marquait un peu le pas mais conservait le second accssit alors que LA SAVANE concluait plaisamment à la quatrième place prenant très sûrement la mesure d’AL BUCQ.
QUATRE HEURES has come out of the race very well. He was unperturbed by the run (as expected by his proven form in Navan on heavy ground (I was there and can vouch for it!)). He’s entered in the 125EME GRANDE COURSE DE HAIES DE PAU (2m 4.5f) and the PRIX GASTON PHOEBUS (2m 7f chase). No decisions yet. There was talk (from the trainer) of him going to Cheltenham but my view (and I emphasise that it’s my personal view) is that one more outing at Pau and then a break until Auteuil might be the route. He needs to put aside poor previous runs at Auteuil but his two winning performances at Pau suggest that we are enjoying a return to the Grade 1 form he showed when winning the Champion 4-y-o Hurdle at Punchestown in April 2006. He remains lightly run and took a long time to fill out.
Further update – 1 February Although entered for the hurdle race on Sunday, we’ll probably give him a break for a couple of months so that he returns fresh for Auteuil. If he doesn’t run on Sunday we’ll call it a day in the sud-ouest after an excellent return to full fitness and form and look forward to exciting trips to the capital.
Quatre Heures has his next outing in the Prix Rene Cramail (Prix Aeroport Pau Pyrenees) at Pau tomorrow (12.50 p.m. UK time).
His last outing was in bad ground and jockey Philip Carberry chose an outside route in the Prix Estrem-Rey over 3500m at the same course on 3 January. He was 8.5 lengths fourth and there’s no doubt that his performance was not as impressive as his win in the Prix Ramon-Diago (also over 3500m) on 15 December on better ground when he was at his best. However, an inside route would probably have seen him much closer and possibly winning.
Assuming that he remains in good form I expect a return to form this time out. Much will depend on the state of the ground. QH demonstrated in heavy in Navan (Jan 08) that he can perform well (3/4 length behind Clopf – 2m 1f) but, as we know, the ground in France can be very unforgiving. It’s therefore a plus that he’s in the first race but the course has seen a lot of use over the last few weeks (12 meetings already this month!).
So what about the distance? 3.8 km is 2 miles 3 furlongs. QH has no wins over more than two miles and a third over 2m 2f. However, most of those races were in much higher company and a replication of the December ride should see him comfortably home.
And what of the opposition? The favourite is Slow Game. Although strongly supported by French pundits and first in a reasonable chase at Pau on 20 December his recent races are a mix of chases and flat races. Brasilien, Al Bucq and Ouh La La were the three ahead of us (in that order) in the 3 January race so I think that we can turn them over. Gratia Plena was pulled up in the same race but the market says that she should do better (12/1).
Sparrow du Mathan was third behind Al Bucq in his last outing at Pau on 18 December in a reasonable race. Previous form includes four wins (Sept 09 to April 11) but all bar one moderate race at Pau were at provincial courses.
La Savane is a highly tried horse and should not be disregarded. She was a winner in a chase on her last outing at Pau over 3900m but didn’t beat much in a moderate race on 31 December. However she is a 5yo with room for improvement.
Verdict: I would price Quatre Heures at 3/1 in this race. The current (undeveloped 408%) Betfair market has him at 4/1.
Time again (at last) for a preview of Saturday’s racing.
Before that, very pleased with Quatre Heures on Tuesday in desperate ground and he’s entered to run again at Pau on 15 January. Looking at options to be there. Also disappointed that I didn’t get on Natalie Cassidy (so to speak) – reduced from 8/1 to 11/4 in the course of the evening. Michael Madsen at 25/1 is interesting; Romeo at 8/1 is a lay (again so to speak).
Right, time for tomorrow’s racing:
1.00 – Kells Belle to beat Kaffie. Beware the form of the latter at minor courses.
1.35 – Don’t look beyond Soliwery (n/b) – decent recruit from France and ground to suit.
2.05 – I thought that I was going to be opposing favourites Dave’s Dream and Tanks For That but it seems that, like me, others have noted that Venetia’s have finally hit form and Rileyev was ahead of them. Confident selection.
2.35 – This is intriguing. I’m against Prospect Wells. Magnifique Etoile is a doubtful runner. I’m very interested in Captain Conan and Colour Squadron is the threat.
3.10 – Easy to dismiss most of these and it has the feel of a veterans’ chase notwithstanding the ages of the participants. Definitely class and prospect and I take them in reverse order: Hold On Julio to beat Neptune Collonges.
3.45 – Easy to dismiss most of these and I think that only about three have a chance. I’ll watch the market but for jackpot/placepot purposes it’s Higgy’s Ragazzo (sounds like a greyhound!).
Nothing much of interest at Wincanton save for Minella Theatre in the 2.50 and Skint (nap) in the 4.00.
Thurles will be bottomless so careful choices are required. I’d question whether WP will run Quel Esprit in the 12.35 but, even if he does, 1/3 is no value in the ground. Also interested in Quaquo de Flotte in the 2.10.
Well, here I am, back at my my much neglected website and what’s brought me back? Two decent prizes at Market Razen tomorrow for a hurdle and a chase. It’s a frustrating time of year because the advent of autumn makes me yearn for decent jumps racing and we have all those end of the season flat races to put up with. I’m really looking forward to this season, not just to see some of last season’s hurdling stars go jumping, but because my horse is about to start a new campaign in France, but more of that later.
Our first port of call is the Prelude Hurdle at 2.20. Viva Colonia is all the rage but my preference is for King In Waiting (currently 8.2/1 on Betfair). This is a late summer race (as demonstrated by the days since last raced) and this one has had a decent break since a win on the same course in late July. With a record of 5 from 48 and career winnings of nearly £43K this would be his biggest single win by some margin but this is a very winnable race and he’s a confident selection.
Next is the 2.50 £50K chase. We’re on good, good to firm ground, so summer runners have to be respected. Ostland is a decent horse and Neptune Equester is a popular selection but I’m with Tim Vaughan’s My Moment at an attractive 15/1. The horse is fit, as shown by his Stratford outing 20 days ago, and the current Betfair price is very appealing by comparison with the overnight betting forecasts.
Both races are on Channel 4.
In the 5.10 bumper there is no point in looking beyond odds-on Magnifique Etoile by Kayf Tara out of Star Diva. This is clearly an outing he is expected to collect on the way to much more challenging races. One of those early season bankers.
I’ll let you know what a treble would earn you when I get the prices tomorrow (no price yet for the bumper).
Quatre Heures has not been out since February 2008 and is now back in his national home with Francois Cottin in France. He’s fit and ready to run. We’re eyeing a claiming hurdle race at Auteuil in France in a couple of weeks’ time and then, if all goes well, a decent race again at Auteuil in late October. His previous visits to Auteuil were disappointing but he hit the practice fence on the first try and was unsettled by false ground on the second. We’re optimistic about his renaissaince and I’ll add posts here to let you know how he gets on.
Here’s the pool this evening. Probably too much chlorine to get in just now (and too cold!). Will be fine tomorrow and another hot day in prospect.