Martin Malone

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Tag: French racing

…and here is So French winning the Grand Steeple

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:

http://www.group1horseracing.com/tv/video/66822/grand-steeple-chase-de-paris

Really impressive!

Quatre Heures’ next race

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.

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