The winter meeting at Cagnes got underway on Thursday and the action continues on the Riviera today, with a good seven-race card.
Yannick Fouin has led the standings in terms of jumps winners trained here in each of the past six years and I’m hoping Inventif can bring him further success in the three-year-old hurdle (11.50am).
He was running really well and still in contention when coming down at the last on his hurdling debut at Auteuil in September and his recent fourth at Fontainebleau looked very much to be a prep run for Cagnes, as he wasn’t knocked about but finished off his race to good effect to finish fourth.
Inventif’s half-brother shed his maiden tag here for Fouin in 2018 and went on to win the four year old Listed chase at the meeting, and judging from the entries he has held in recent weeks, he is clearly well-regarded by his trainer.
Fou Du Roi is the obvious danger, having gone off a short-priced favourite on debut in a prestigious juvenile contest at Compiegne back in March, and was a faller when tipped up in this column at Vichy next time. David Cottin’s runners rarely fail for fitness, but the 9lbs claim of Tanguy Andrieux (alongside the 2lbs Inventif was already receiving) could help tip the balance in favour of Inventif, who has the benefit of a couple of recent runs under his belt.
11.50am Cagnes – 1pt win Inventif @ 4-1 (William Hill, Betfair, Paddy Power, 7/2 elsewhere)
I’m doubling down on Fouin today, with Enjoy Your Life worth chancing in the 2m3f handicap chase (12.25pm).
He was Fouin’s best three year old in what was admittedly not a vintage year for the yard in 2020 (and I imagine Riviere D’etel might have taken that honour had she not been sold after finishing second in the Prix Finot) and has been keeping considerably better company than the field he faces today.
He ran in three consecutive handicaps in which his jockey couldn’t use the claim, showing a decent level of form when fourth at Clairefontaine in August, and the race in which he finished down the field at Auteuil last time has worked out well.
He’ll need to bounce back to form to take this, but these are much calmer waters, the 9lbs claim can be used for the first time in handicap company, and the mark of 58 looks very workable, even on his recent form.
12.25pm Cagnes – 1pt win Enjoy Your Life @ 12-1 (all firms)