Racing in the provinces returns today after the winter break and we have a couple of bets on the card at Machecoul, starting with Maquignon in what looks a desperately weak maiden (11.20am).

It is a contest for horses that were bred and raised in France and favourite Bon Esprit is the obvious one on the back of an eye-catching sixth on his debut for Adrien Fouassier last time.  He is very much the one to beat, but Maquignon is a value alternative.

He took a couple of runs to get the hang of things last term, but his third in a claimer at Clairefontaine in October shows he has the ability to win a little race, and he ran creditably in a class 2 on his next start.  Though only sixth in a claimer here when last seen, he had to go so wide off the home bend and was finishing strongly at the line.

Alexandre Roussel, on board for the first time, is one of the leading jockeys here and the 7-1 on offer looks fair.

11.20am Machecoul – 1pt win Maquignon @ 7-1 (most firms)


We’re sticking with Roussel in the following race (11.50am), with Allumer Le Feu looking an attractive bet at 15/2.

The daughter of Kamsin started off over an inadequate extended mile last May, but looked a different proposition upped to 1m6.5f on her next outing in September, winning comfortably.

That wasn’t much of a race, but that’s also the case today and she is getting weight from her two main rivals. She has also proven that she can go well fresh, which is an obvious plus.  She has a really nice page to go jumping, but hopefully can add another success on the flat first.

11.50am Machecoul – 1pt win Allumer Le Feu @ 15/2 (most firms)