The opening claimer at Marseille Vivaux features three at the top of the market that have won in this grade already this year. However, the favourite Lilou Chope has won a couple of really weak races here, while Aspen finished out the back on debut for Cedric Boutin and, though he is respected on form, is far from certain to return to the level he showed when winning at Fontainebleau for Fabrice Chappet.
Ardluasa‘s recent form figures aren’t inspiring, but he was badly hampered at a crucial stage in handicap company last time, and had run creditably the time before off a mark of 31.
A winner over this course and distance in February for his previous connections, he was much the best that day and ran another good race when fifth in a class 2 here on his debut for this yard.
Jockey Gregoire Legras claims 3lbs and is riding with plenty of confidence, given the form of his main backer Jerome Reynier, and Ardluasa has the ability to return to winning ways today.
10.50am Marseille Vivaux – 1pt each-way Ardluasa @ 4-1 (most firms)
Later on the card, I’m taking a chance on Divine Light, who starts out for Jerome Reynier today.
The ex Charlie Appleby-trained filly won a Newmarket maiden on debut at two and was highly-tried last year, finishing in midfield in the Nell Gwyn on reappearance and then taking in a Listed at York en route to a midfield finish in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot when last seen.
She has been off since, and was purchased for 145,000gns at the December Mares’ Sale in Newmarket.
With a win already under her belt, the fact connections are persevering suggests they are hopeful she can gain some black type this year, and though the jockey booking does suggest this could be a pipe-opener, Manon Germain’s claim does mean Divine Light will be carrying just 51kg, so in receipt of 9kg from the two market leaders, who are rated 34 and 38.5 (75 and 85 in UK, whereas Divine Light is rated 94…albeit unlikely to run to it!).
Reynier has been in flying form, and it’s worth noting he won a stronger race than this with a filly having her first run in France at Marseille Borely last week.
12.25pm Marseille Vivaux – 1pt win Divine Light @ 13/2 (all firms)