A big field for the 1m1f claimer at Compiegne, but not that many that can be seriously fancied and at the prices, I like the chances of Phuket Paradise.
Trained by the excellent Henk Grewe, he won two valuable sales races in Germany last summer, beating some useful types (including his stablemate Zavaro, who goes in the race before this one) before finishing third in a soft-ground handicap in Germany off a mark of 78, which equates to 84 in the UK / 38 in France. He wasn’t at his best in a claimer at Chantilly last time, but that was on his AW debut and it came in a much better race than this.
He has had three months off and has gone well fresh in the past, so that looks a positive. Kevin Braye is one of the better ones in the amateur riders’ races, which is another plus.
1.05pm Compiegne – 1pt win Phuket Paradise @ 15/2 (Paddy Power, Betfair, BetVictor, Betfred)
The market for the opener at Toulouse looks a little off to me and the Lageneste & Macaire representative Heclypse Blue is too big at 7-1.
He has looked a work in progress so far, but he has run two very creditable races in defeat behind stablemates the last twice, both over fences, and it was a big ask to give the hat-trick seeking Crazy Marta 9lbs at Fontainebleau in November. I liked the run back at Fonty last time, behind stablemate Apple’s Pierro (who was put up on Race Sharp that day) and though his form might just be a little way behind that of Sainseinoise and Sir Khevi, the booking of a relatively inexperienced conditional (2-59 in career to date) for the former doesn’t fill me with confidence, even though the yard had a double at Compiegne during the week. The Nicolle horses aren’t exactly flying at present, and Sir Khevi has to give our selection 9lbs here.
The Lageneste/Macaire combo have been using Natalie Desoutter’s allowance (for female jockeys) very nicely in recent weeks, and her record for the yard reads 113124124 since the turn of the year.
Macaire has been peerless at Toulouse in recent seasons, operating at a 41% strike-rate last term (14-34) and 34% the year before (10-29). I would imagine he had a few options for this race, so the fact he relies just on Heclypse Blue is a big plus.
2.45pm Toulouse – 1pt win Heclypse Blue @ 7-1 (Paddy Power, Betfair, 13/2 BetVictor)