Strasbourg holds centre stage in France today with a mixed eight-race card, and our first bet goes in the 1m2f maiden (12.25pm). This is a little deeper than the average maiden around here, but nevertheless I think the favourite Millionaire is worth supporting.
A good third on debut last year, he finished third in a Listed contest at Dusseldorf on his next outing, with the form franked by the fourth landing a Group 3 next time out. Millionaire was fifth in that Group 3 on what was his final start of the campaign, but went well for a long way and it’s a good piece of form, particularly in the context of this race.
A son of the late Alderflug, he is a full brother to Mendocino, who ran Alpinista close when runner-up in a Group 1 at Munich in November, while the half-sister was a Group 3 winner in October, so it’s a really smart family.
Henk Grewe’s string have been a little slow to come to hand this term, but it’s very early days and the dual German champion trainer has some exciting prospects for the year ahead. Millionaire is highly-regarded and if all goes to plan today, he will be stepping up in grade with the German Derby as the ultimate ambition.
12.25pm Strasbourg – 2pts win Millionaire @ 2-1 (all firms)
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The 1m4f class 3 is a significantly weaker affair, for horses rated less than 28 (62 UK).
Those at the top of the market can certainly have a case made for them (I think Nuit D’Orage has ability, but the yard form is the concern), but at a very big price I’m chancing Sehmara.
The lightly-raced and well-bred four year old showed a bit of ability for Freddy Head in Parisian maidens last year and I thought she ran a little better than the form suggests on her third start for this yard at Nancy last time.
That was a more competitive contest than this, and after a really slow start to the year, Yoann Bonnefoy has started to get a few winners in recent weeks. He placed his horses really well last term and looks to have found a good opportunity for this daughter of Bated Breath, who is a half-sister to Stable Genius and the highly-talented but fragile Aramhes.
She’ll need to improve a bit, but she has race-fitness on her side and the 25-1 on offer is too big.
1.42pm Strasbourg – 1pt win, 0.5pt place Sehmara @ 25-1 (all firms)