STAR PREVIEW Fri: Lyon-Parilly

Racing from Lyon-Parilly
Live on Sky Sports Racing HD from 10:00am
First Race: Prix des Hortensias (Maiden) (2yo) (Turf) (2yo) (UK Off Time: 10:15am)

A frustrating day yesterday as Sujet Libre had no sort of finishing effort from the front, finishing so badly that he appeared to be a little amiss in the Prix du Pont Neuf. That contest was won by the well backed Arapaho, who had his challenge delivered with perfect timing by Pierre Charles-Boudot, and if he improves as much as we expect Andre Fabre’s horses to, then he has an obviously bright future.

All five pattern winners were impressive, although three really captured the imagination. The card started with a really sharp performance from Raabihah in the Prix de la Seine. Always handily placed for Cristian Demuro, she sprinted clear of the previously listed placed American Apples in the style of a horse who belonged at the very top level, and it was no surprise to see many pointing her in the direction of the Prix Diane. In the more immediate future, she could head to the Saint-Alary, or indeed straight to Chantilly.

Just as impressive was Pao Alto, who came with a powerful effort to dominate the Prix la Force and lunch himself to the top of the Prix du Jockey Club contenders list. The way he put two lengths between himself and a high class field on paper was deeply impressive but he also saw out the final furlong well, with Ocean Altantique finishing second and well clear of the field. The pair obviously have bright futures going ahead and will surely head to Chantilly, where Pao Alto looks the right favourite at this point in time, although it will be interesting to see if any of the current contenders for the Poulains make their way there. Another Sky was fourth, but is not one to be giving up on after taking such a big step up in class so soon.

Mkfancy – the selection on this page – was a bitter disappointment, starting slowly and then appearing not to stretch out properly on the ground, although that surely cannot be the only reason for such a poor effort. He will be happier with cut but It would be disconcerting not to see some sort of explanation for such a terrible effort.

Some of the high profile older horses to return since the resumption of racing have been slightly disappointing, but that was not the case with last year’s Diane third Grand Glory, who came from last to first with a withering run to take the Prix Zarkvava in fine style. Once she got going the result was never in doubt and a number of high level races against mares in the summer should be within her sight.

The one meeting today is at Lyon-Parilly, where we once again have an excellent combination of maidens, conditions races and handicaps, starting with another maiden in the shape of the Prix des Hortensias (10.15) – all taking place on ground listed as ‘Very Soft’. There might be an angle into the Prix Pimpin (10.45) by taking the recent course and distance winner French Asseel. He was a commanding winner of the Prix Raymond Roux-Meulien here in March and that race fitness on the same surface gives him a puncher’s chance of being able to overturn Grey Mystere (second to none other than Pao Alto in the Grand Criterium de Bordeaux last season on a decent surface, before then finishing fourth in a heavy ground listed contest). The biggest threats are San Fabrizio and Siler Schnok, both of whom have strong juvenile efforts to bring to the table.

One race worth keeping an eye on is the Prix des Poulains et Pouliches (12.15) where Hellenistique, Lootah, Step By Step, Loquito and Adelphie are all of interest and none would be a shock winner.

Hellenistique could not have been more impressive when winning at Angers on his last start of 2019 when beating seven previous winners by five lengths and was a tempting option, but the presence of Andre Fabre’s Lootah is enough to make it a watching brief.

The two clear form picks are in the Prix Desir de Mai (12.50) but draws of 18 for Sassandra and 13 for Night And Day ruin their appeal and Salesman is just too short in the Prix Louis Saulnier (1.24), especially with In Swoop catching the eye for Francis-Henri Graffard (Pierre Charles-Boudot booked) and Epic Tale promising to improve from his Chantilly debut.

The feature Listed event is the Prix Bedel (1.58) where the unbeaten Skyward faces Prix Exbury third Pappalino and the Strasbourg winner Moinesur Croc who takes a drop down in class from the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris. It’s a hot betting heat, but the front three are very closely matched and there doesn’t seem an obviously tempting angle in.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Grey Mystere 1 pt win in 10.45 Lyon Parilly at 5/2 with

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