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The going at Compiegne this afternoon could get very testing as storms are forecast to hit the track mid-afternoon.


Race Two is a juvenile maiden where there is little strength in depth and it is hard to look past the morning gamble Birr Castle, a Cloth of Stars colt who ran a promising third last month at Deauville in a race that’s already had the form franked. Priced at 4/6, he will stay in excess of today’s mile trip in time and his damsire Turtle Bowl is a soft ground influence.


Melomane has had two runs at this course but it’s a concern that he’s been off for almost two months now and Dschingis Shaan is reportedly being saved for handicaps.


Nicolas Clement’s homebred Sunshinefled has had the benefit of three racecourse starts now and looks well worth her rating of 37.5. She’s skipped two alternative engagements (both over a mile) in favour of this race today, including at Lyon-Parilly yesterday where her yard had a runner, and presumably connections fancy her to handle soft. She looks an each-way steal and maybe there’s something in the fact that Cloth of Stars has only sired one winner in France this year outside of claiming company.


1.25pm Compiegne – 1pt each-way Sunshinefled @ 4-1 (most firms, Betfred 9/2 and bet365 5-1)



Non-runners are a pain, especially when you want to take them on! Andre Fabre must have seen a similar forecast this afternoon to me and wasted no time pulling fast ground horse Mr de Pourceaugnac out of the feature Class 2 contest, which will be run at almost 5pm local time.


Irska is on a long losing run but the last time she ran on ground worse than good to soft, she finished a cracking fourth behind Group mares Grand Glory, Burgarita and Ebaiyra at Longchamp in Listed company in April. It’s disappointing she hasn’t got her head in front since then but the Markus Nigge yard has had a quite year, with just nine winners.


Four of those have come since the start of August however and all were in handicaps, suggesting that the yard is on a steady upward curve. Irska herself ran a cracking fourth in a similar race to today when last seen at Deauville and promises to handle heavy ground better than most in today’s field.


Now that the favourite is out, I think this race is slightly weaker than that contest and three geldings in the line-up will have to concede 6lbs to the selection. Last month, the two Juddmonte-owned geldings that finished ahead of her were conceding 3lbs.


Irska may no longer be the filly that finished sixth in the Group One Prix de la Foret two years ago behind the likes of One Master and Earthlight, but she is still competitive and the signs are positive for today. She also held a Group Three entry this weekend, so I can’t believe that the wheels have totally fallen off!


3.45pm Compiegne – 1.5pt win Irksa @ 9/2 (William Hill, Coral, Betfred, Sport Nation, Sporting Index etc. or 5-1 with bet365)

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