A trappy card at Angers today, but I’m backing one in the 4yo hurdle (11.50am).
Raffles Park is certainly bred to be useful, being a son of Martaline and out of the ill-fated Grade 2 winner/2015 Ryanair Chase runner-up Ma Filleule, who went on to have just one other foal, a colt by Doctor Dino.
Raffles Park was sent to Jerry Planque, who trained the dam before she was sold to Simon Munir/Isaac Souede, and he has been very much a work in progress. However, he did show a level of ability on his sole start in a 2m flat race last spring. There were also positives to take from his distant third over hurdles here on his latest outing in December. He took time to warm to the task that day, but kept on well up the straight in testing conditions (which he faces again today). Though beaten a long way, the winner Chataignier went on to land the Listed Prix Camille Duboscq at Pau, while the runner-up Mon Ami Well was a ready winner on his next outing.
Planque has had Raffles Park ready to start his season for the past couple of weeks (he was balloted out of a race here earlier this month) and hopefully he can shed his maiden tag at the same course Ma Filleule did over fences back in 2011 – she won twice here before going on to score at Auteuil.
This is far from the strongest of races – favourite Jeu d’Opale is the obvious one, particularly with his yard now back in such good form, but his form from the autumn is nothing special, while second-favourite Yemaska has looked very modest, both on the flat and over hurdles.
11.50am Angers – 1pt win, 0.5pt place Raffles Park @ 6-1 (most firms)
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