The opening handicap at Les Sables D’Olonne is a low-grade affair, in which it is worth chancing a return to form at a massive price for Al Rassoul.

The seven year old won this race in 2020 under today’s rider Fabrice Veron, who has won three times on him and gets the ride since Deauville four starts ago.

That front-running win came off a 2kg higher mark and he won handicaps at Pau, Mont-de-Marsan and Angers last year off 20.5, 22.5 and 21, so this mark of 17 is well within his compass.

His wins have come in headgear, so the fact the cheekpieces worn at Angers last October return today, having been left off last time, is encouraging.  With a win and a short-head second from three starts here, he clearly likes the track, and a return to front-running tactics surely awaits after being held up at Fontainebleau last time.

Local trainer Patrick Nicot will presumably have targeted this race again and while we have to take the chance that Al Rassoul will return to form, there were positives to take from his run at Le Mans two starts back, where he travelled very well into the straight before fading.

3.07pm Les Sables D’Olonne – 1pt win Al Rassoul @ 33-1 (all firms, including William Hill)