Welcome back to Week Four of the French Racing Diary as the Race Sharp Team continues to enjoy the delightful sunny vistas of Cagnes-sur-Mer. Here are my thoughts on the week gone by.


Arqana delivers big blow to online sales platforms

The CEO of online bidding platform Auctav was chuffed that Arc weekend sales race winner Purplepay reached €1,350,000 in a ‘flash sale’ last month, even though she was not sold. It highlighted the potential in the platform and the confidence of both the vendor and bidders, they told the press.

I imagine they would have been frustrated to see the same filly make €2,000,000 at Arqana just four weeks later and stamp her ticket to race in the US.

Arqana would have been more thirsty on the commission, of course, but the vendor has hit the jackpot.

Auctav will continue to fight out its niche in the market with IWantTheWinner, but Arqana is also doing online sales now and this was a lovely win for the Deauville sales machine over an upstart.

Meanwhile, over in the UK, ThoroughBid has had fortunes put into it but the recent sale of Belfast Banter to the US for £130,000 won’t be causing the Tattersalls team any sleepless nights.


Grivetana looks exciting

Juvenile filly Grivetana looked a future jumps star for trainer Yannick Fouin, who had a Saturday to remember as co-breeder of Zambella. Grivetana may have only won a maiden hurdle at Cagnes-sur-Mer (which tends to be even weaker than the winter Pau meeting), but she quickened up very impressively. Well-touted beforehand, her granddam is Grivette, who must have the best piece of 21st century jumps form to her name – in the 2008 Prix Alain du Breil she led home Hurricane Fly in second and Quevega in third.

Perhaps Grivetana has done enough to be the 71st name on Unibet’s ridiculous, but inventive, Triumph Hurdle list.


Tony Piccone wins and falls

Piccone has been back riding since November after a long stint in Hong Kong. Having last ridden a French winner on Arc weekend last year on Wonderful Tonight, he finally rode a winner with Keat at Marseille-Vivaux on Monday afternoon, but was then stood down after falling an hour later into the polytrack. Tough return!


Meadowlands impressions in the US

On a trip to New York last week, I couldn’t help but pay a visit to a retail sportsbook that has long fascinated me – FanDuel at Meadowlands. This giant is meant to be one of the jewels in US.

I definitely didn’t see it in its best light on a dull Tuesday afternoon, but it was completely soulless and the staff were not interested at all. All they could push was some tennis and half of the five customers there were just on their phones taking bets for others out of state.

The simulcast racing next door was far warmer and at least the bar was open for cheap drinks!


One to watch

Iroko looks an amazing recruit for Oliver Greenall and is entered in the juvenile hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday. She has some ok bumper form but on her Auteuil debut she split Intense Raffles (huge engine, won next start) and Ivanohe (won next two). She should be very competitive.