Horse Racing Trader’s Tips: Auteuil Preview – Saturday 16th May
Our trader Mark Underhill previews the day’s racing
Flat racing has restarted with a bang since the return of French racing on Monday. We’ve had seven Group races already this week, but it’s the Auteuil track which takes centre-stage today.
It’s time for France’s top jumpers to compete with a two-day fixture at the Parisian track, live on the Sky Sports Racing camera.
Sunday’s card may feature the Prix du President da la Republique, a valuable Grade 3 handicap chase, considered the French equivalent to the Grand National, but Saturday’s nine-race card features several valuable prizes, getting underway with the 11:05.
Prix Murat (13:35)
Saturday’s feature race starts at 13:35 with the 2m 6f Grade 2 Prix Murat. There’s over £122,000 in prize money to be won too, with the race usually a significant pointer towards the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris.
With this year’s revised programme, the Prix Murat is the obvious trial for the Grade 1 which is scheduled to take place at Auteuil on Sunday 7th June.
The field includes last year’s impressive Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris winner Carriacou, who is just as effective over this shorter trip and has the benefit of having had a run out over hurdles in March.
The eight-year-old gelding must give weight to all opponents under the conditions of the race, and with his main target coming in three weeks’ time, he looks like he could be vulnerable here.
The Francois Nicolle-trained Figuero looks likely to be sent off as the favourite, when you take into consideration that he routed the opposition to win by a fair way over course and distance in the Grade 1 Prix de Maurice Gillois back in November.
The Prix de Maurice Gillois is the championship event for four-year-old chasers and had previously been won by Carriacou in 2016. After Figuero won it with such ease last year, he marked himself down as one of the current stars of French jump racing.
He already has four Auteuil chase wins to his name and won a hurdle here comfortably on his return in March when taking on older horses.
It will be his first meeting with older chasers, but he is expected to be up to the task given the current find form of his trainer, sending out five winners on Monday.
Top hurdler Feu Follet was beaten twice by Figuero over fences in the autumn but has more to find despite a weights swing. Ebonite, who won the Grade 3 Prix Troytown from Polly Grandchamp on this course in March could pose the biggest threat to the favourite.
A familiar name to British racing fans among the jockeys riding at Auteuil will be James Reveley. The Yorkshireman won the French Jump Jockeys’ Championship in 2016 after relocating to France.
He looks to have a very strong chance of a winner in the Listed hurdle for three-year-olds at 13:05. He’s riding the Guillaume Macaire-trained Nimes, who won comfortably on his debut at Compiegne in March.
Reveley rode market rival Yes Indeed last time, so he’ll know how the pair compare. Nimes is reportedly partially blind in one eye, though Reveley has highlighted him as one to follow for the rest of the year.
With the Grade 1 Prix Cambacérès being mentioned as a possible target, he must be held in very high regard as a future winner.
All odds and markets are correct as of date of publication.