Jean-Claude Rouget is 5-8 at Salon de Provence this year and he has a couple of good chances today, including with Perle Bleue.
She shaped nicely enough when fifth on debut over 1m1.5f at Bordeaux at the end of October, one place behind Amalgame, who made much of the running before fading in the straight.
Our selection has 1.5L to make up on Amalgame, who re-opposes today and heads the market, but Perle Bleue was doing her best work at the end that day and she looks likely to progress, particularly given the strength of her pedigree. A first foal by leading sire Le Havre, her dam is a half-sister to five black-type performers.
Interestingly, Rouget won this race in 2018 with Esson, who had also started off in the Prix de Pomerol at Bordeaux.
There doesn’t seem to be any strength in depth to today’s race and the 3.5kg claim of Hugo Mousan is another positive.
11.50am Salon de Provence – 1pt win Perle Bleue @ 7/2 (most firms)
Later on the card, Absolute Summer is worth chancing in the second division (which goes off first!) of the 1m1f handicap (1.42pm).
She had no chance at Cavaillon last time in a level-weights contest, but it would have served to bring her on for this, given it was her first run since the end of July. She was given a quiet ride by an inexperienced apprentice last time, who was also on board for Absolute Summer’s reappearance in March back from over three months off. She duly took a big step forward to finish third in a Saint-Cloud handicap on her second run back from the break then, and a similar effort is hoped for today, with Antonio Orani taking over. Orani has enjoyed an excellent season and his record on Absolute Summer reads 1262.
Absolute Summer has run well here in the past and her mark has dipped below 20 for the first time since scoring at Vichy in July 2019. The ground will suit and the blinkers are back on today.
1.42pm Salon de Provence – 1pt win Absolute Summer @ 16-1 (various, 14s elsewhere)