Here are the race-by-race previews for the race meeting at Clairefontaine in France this Thursday (selections are in bold capitals):
RACE 1: WHAZE debuted in a decent maiden at Saint-Cloud earlier in the month and finished a respectable third without threatening the winner. This extra distance will suit Freddie Head’s colt and he has a fitness advantage over Zealandia. The latter also made his debut at Saint-Cloud in September last year, when showing some promise while Ommeel was placed on the all-weather at Deauville in February and should go well. Sea The Stars filly Moon Palace is a newcomer to note representing Francis Graffard’s yard.
RACE 2: Shariq failed to show the improvement expected when only fourth at Toulouse last time, but wasn’t beaten far and is still worthy of consideration. Lady Portia also disappointed on her reappearance, having ran well on the all-weather at Deauville on her earlier debut, so a speculative vote goes to the returning ULTRAMARINE. Jean-Claude Rouget’s filly placed on the turf at Deauville in October and should be winning races this year. Best Step makes most appeal of the remainder.
RACE 3: Young Man has something to prove at this higher level and maiden winner Icatcher struggled in Listed company last time. Nat King is another with something to prove in this grade though this looks easier than his latest task in a Group 3 at Longchamp, while Natural Path won both outings in 2019 and there should be more to come from him this year as he steps up in class along with ZIEGFELD. The latter beat a couple of subsequent winners when making a winning start over 1400m here last summer and Andre Fabre’s Godolphin colt gets the vote on the strength of that form.
RACE 4: Bengal Bay debuted for William Haggas at Ascot last year and has switched yards along with Baileys Blues, who failed to win in five outings for Mark Johnston. Kloster was beaten only a couple of lengths in Listed company at Longchamp recently with the winner trained by Andre Fabre and the latter runs two in this. Havasu showed little on her debut, but Frankel filly VINTERN ran well for fourth behind a couple of subsequent winners at Deauville on her debut and may prove good enough on her reappearance with an apprentice’s allowance helping her cause. Merci Pour Tout is preferred to Cap Skirring of the rest.
RACE 5: Azano won a Group 3 contest at Chantilly last year when trained by John Gosden and has switched to a new yard. Devil is also proven in this grade with a victory at Maisons-Laffitte in October though ran nowhere near the same level on his reappearance and SPINNING MEMORIES makes more appeal. A Group 3 winner at Deauville in 2019, Pascal Bary’s mare landed a Listed contest over today’s trip at Longchamp earlier in the month and another bold bid is expected in this. Milord’s Song and Stunning Spirit have more to find at this level and Stormbringer’s recent success at Chantilly came in a handicap.
RACE 6: Rimini finished runner-up to Stormbringer, entered in the previous race on today’s card, at Chantilly in February, while Maxime Guyon prefers the returning Ecolo to Takuendo. Tonnencourt, Les Vertus, Shere Calm and Midnight Shine were all winning races last year though the latter has the advantage of an outing at Compiegne in March and makes most appeal of that group. But the choice is URWALD. He was aimed high after winning a Listed contest for Andre Fabre in 2019 and new trainer Jean-Claude Rouget drops him in class on his return to action.
RACE 7: JAAYIZ looks worth another chance, having landed a hat-trick earlier this year and beaten only a length in a handicap at Saint-Cloud earlier this month. He’s preferred to Molly Sunshine, who scored at Compiegne in March, while River Down won at Strasbourg more recently though a wide draw hasn’t done her any favours. Viva Polonia and Bibi Voice have also recorded victories this year with the latter winning the stronger race at Cagnes in January.
RACE 8: Charming Prince should go well again after scoring at Longchamp recently, while Tarida finished runner-up at the same meeting at Longchamp when ahead of several of these including third-placed Miss Believe. This looks tougher than Faithfilly Man’s recent success at Pont De Vivaux but CHASING GOLD (best bet) drops down in class. Christophe Ferland’s filly won both starts last year and was upped in trip at Cagnes on her reappearance. Better is expected now with Christophe Soumillon’s presence another positive.
RACE 9: Kendiss found one to good for the fifth time in succession when narrowly beaten on the all-weather and looks worth taking on with JENUFA. The latter finished runner-up at Longchamp earlier in the month and is taken to confirm running with third-placed Aiguiere D’argent. Vivi Bonnebouille makes her handicap debut along with Snifter and both are worthy of consideration, while La Reine Catherine finished in front of Projet Concret when placed at Chantilly back in February. – sportinglife.com