Architect Tips is back with nine tips for today's racing.
In the feature race in France, the Grand Steeple-chase De Paris, I am quite sweet on one of the youngsters of the party NIKO HAS (best price 8/1) who made it four-from-six at the course when scoring in a Listed event here last time. He seemed to enjoy the step up in trip and should arguably be arriving here with four straight wins under his belt as he looked set to easily beat Sel Jem before falling at the second last in a Grade Three. However, he’s improved since in which he’s two-from-two for the campaign and it’s interesting to see France's champion trainer Francois Nicolle supplement him for this, who’s reported to have been working extremely well.
His trainer has surprisingly yet to win his country’s biggest prize but if there’s a horse who is capable of doing it for him then it might be this talented individual, who makes plenty of each-way appeal and looks sure to progress. If he stays and jumps as well as he can, I think he’ll go very close to winning this event because he’s a seriously talented horse, who has lots of natural quality and gears and his masterful handler wouldn’t be risking him at such a young age for this without believing he has the capabilities of providing him with a maiden victory in this prestigious race. He’s my main play in this year’s renewal. Four places generally available.
GENERAL EN CHEF (best price 16/1) was well held last time but he caught the eye at this course on his penultimate outing, where he was given an impossible task when held up at the back of the field before surging home to finish a closing fifth behind three horses who re-oppose today including one of the leading fancies. In fact, he was sent off just 7/4 favourite for that contest to beat eventual winner Sel Jem so on the form available, he’s massively overpriced here. Trainer David Cottin has had this race has his main target once more, who finished a creditable front-running fourth in this twelve months ago. He jumped and travelled effectively throughout and had all of his rivals in trouble from the second last and looked like he might win, only for his stamina to give way in the latter stages.
Beaten just eight lengths at the line behind Docteur De Ballon, who was winning this for the second consecutive year, his performance can be massively upgraded as he was in front of Le Berry but wasn’t far behind the last two winners of this race and may have finished even closer if Felix De Giles held onto him a tad longer on the front-end. I actually don’t think this year’s race is any stronger so while he has not proved the most consistent over the past couple of seasons, he has shown on numerous occasions that he is capable of huge displays in defeat. Finally, horses who have experience in this race, tend to come back and do well again so, at a double-figure price, he must be worth an each-way interest with four places generally available.
WHITE WILLOW (best price 11/2) is improving through the ranks and did well to run down the eventual second and battle her way to success two weeks ago on her first handicapping start on the turf. She’s gone up four-pounds as a result but she’s got loads of scope and has a very solid profile to her name. She’s drawn well in stall one, has the most potential of all the runners and should be well-suited to a strong gallop so she’s a serious each-way player at the very least with five places widely available in the opener.
Front-runners tend to do well at this course and and at an even bigger price, HOWZER BLACK (best price 20/1) could go very well with the five places widely on offer. He ran a blinder when only finding one too good at Hamilton two weeks ago off his reduced mark and wasn’t disgraced at Ripon the time before that in a class two event off a pound higher mark. He’s ran twice at this venue before (both over slightly shorter) and ran very well to finish second and fourth in biggish-field handicaps off marks of 82 and 85 when shouldering top-weight each time. His current mark of 81 makes him dangerously well-treated as he’s now 7Ib below his last winning mark which came in a class two and this is a class four so from a nice-looking slot in stall four, he could be very competitive here.
In the Prix Ferdinand Dufaire Chase, I think La Manigance will take the world of beating but as ever, I always seek value and I quite like the look of IN LOVE (best price 12/1) who’s won two of his three starts. His trainer David Cottin clearly thinks a lot of him as he steps up massively in class to Grade 1 company here after just a few starts. I liked the way he travelled, jumped and quickened away nicely to score here last month and Kevin Nabet, who’s got an excellent strike-rate at this course (19%) has been booked for the ride. As stated, I think the former is the one to beat but, at the forecast odds, he might offer some value as an each-way contender.
I was bitterly disappointed with the performance of MATTICE (best price 16/1) last time over the minimum distance here but he was out of his comfort zone from an early stage and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. His second over track and trip this time last year is the best form he’s displayed to date in which he made subsequent 2000 Guineas fifth Lusail pull out all the stops. The ability is there, it’s whether or not he can put his best foot-forward and that’s reason why connections have reached for the cheekpieces. He’s drawn in stall twenty-two but that should allow him to get a good position and the drop in class will help in other regards too. I think he’s extremely well-handicapped off 74 and while David Allan prefers Bay Breeze, Phil Dennis might be able to get a tune out of the selection and he’s worth one more chance from an each-way perspective with five places generally available.
ON A SESSION (best price 17/2) might still be winless for his current trainer but he’s getting closer and closer to success and could hardly arrive here in better form having ran a cracker to be second in the Thirsk Hunt Cup last month. He didn’t really get the smoothest of passages either but it’s great to see the assessor leave his mark unchanged for today’s assignment which is a drop in grade. He has plenty in his favour here, including conditions, so if he gets the splits when required at a crucial point in the race, there’s every chance he will atone for that latest near miss by going one better here. Five places generally available.
ADAAY TO REMEMBER (best price 12/1) was really progressive as a three-year-old, who won twice and signed off his campaign with an excellent third in a listed event at Newmarket off a mark of 95. She’s two-pound higher for his return here but this represents a drop in grade and stall seventeen looks a good place to be in large-field handicaps. Her current mark of 97 looks lenient on the balance of her form and while she has to concede fitness to a few of these, she should have more to offer this term and given she’s proven to be effective in listed company twice and has yet to finish outside the top three in all career starts to date, Patrick Owens’ filly holds solid each-way credentials. I think she’s got an excellent chance of placing at the very least with five places widely available.
PREMIER POWER (best price 22/1) looked very promising in the early stages of his career in which he achieved a rating of 102 and while the didn’t quite kick on afterwards, he travelled extremely well on stable debut over today’s course-and-distance last time. He was only beaten around four lengths at the post and that was his first start in eight months so he’s entitled to strip a lot fitter here. The assessor has shown him mercy by dropping him a couple of pounds and he’s better off at the weights with the likes of Pendleton and Dakota Gold, while Paul Hanagan is an interesting jockey booking too. Off his current mark with more to come given his lightly-raced profile, he could easily exceed his current odds and make an impact with the ability in the locker to go very well here. Five places generally available.