A couple on the card at Clairefontaine today, starting with Ironman Des Places in the 3yo hurdle (1.20pm).  Francois Nicolle runs two in this, but while Gibralfaro has shown recent form in the provinces, Ironman Des Places was thought good enough to contest the prestigious Prix Rush on his sole start to date, at Auteuil in March.

He wasn’t the yard’s first string that day, but he travelled really sweetly through the race and finished third, three places ahead of stablemate Iniesta Du Gouet, who has since won a competitive level-weights contest at Compiegne.

Heart Wood is favourite here, but I’m not sure about the strength of his debut form and at the prices, Ironman Des Places is the bet.

1.20pm Clairefontaine – 1pt win Ironman Des Places @ 5/2 (all firms)


Later on the card, Sottevast looks the wrong price in the 1m4f maiden (3.40pm)

She walked out of the stalls on debut and gave the opposition a big head start.  However, she travelled really nicely in last and made up a lot of ground in the straight to claim a fast-finishing third, drawing well clear of the remainder.

This doesn’t look overly strong and though there is a possibility she will fluff the start again, there was lots to like about her attitude through the race last time and at this stage, it’s worth chalking up the slow break last time to inexperience.

She held Prix de Diane and St Alary entries earlier this season and is a really well-bred filly, being a full sister to Group 2-placed pair Crisolles and Sotteville.

3.40pm Clairefontaine – 3pts win, 2pt place Sottevast @ 7-1 (all firms)