Rhys Williams has analysed Friday's action and has one selection at Sandown
"The key to his chance is the much quicker ground today. His runs in France and action suggests this is what he wants and I think it could result in significant improvement."
Better ground the key
When horses have run in France the assumption of many is that they want soft ground because that is all they have ever been running on. Both of those assumptions are incorrect and Frero Banbou is one such French import who I think wants good ground to be seen at his best.
He started his career with Gabriel Leenders and showed a good level of form over hurdles and fences. His best run over hurdles came on debut when the ground was just on the soft side and he chased home Please God, who looked a potential star before injury prevented that. He ran fairly well next time in another strong race before running poorly on his final start over hurdles in very testing ground.
He was 2 from 2 over fences in France. On both starts he was dropped right out at the back of the field to try to get him to settle. When winning at Auteuil on the second of those chase starts, he nearly jumped the front with a huge leap at the big open ditch. He went to the front soon after and was always holding his rivals in the closing stages. Again, that run came on ground that wouldn't have been close to being described as 'very soft' by British standards.
He joined Venetia Williams the following month but wasn't seen again until late October last year. He showed a bit of promise on that occasion over hurdles and then stepped up on that when running well at Exeter. Handy from the off, he went clear with Saint De Vassy towards the end of the back straight. They were still upsides at 4 out after which Frero Banbou came under pressure. He kept battling away and was only just over a length down at 2 out before dropping away to finish 13 lengths behind in third.
Since then he's disappointed on unsuitably heavy ground at Haydock and had a wind op following that run.
The key to his chance is the much quicker ground today. His runs in France and action suggests this is what he wants and I think it could result in significant improvement.
The wind op may also help as he did finish quite weakly at Exeter. I would have been even more confident had they put a tongue tie on, as that's what he wore in France, but hopefully that will turn out to have just been a precautionary measure rather than necessity.
The trainer's French imports do tend to improve and start showing their true form after their first season with her but the long break before returning at Ascot could have provided that 'settling in' period rather than a first season of racing and Frero Banbou will be capable of showing his best today.
I think he should be favourite and any 9/4 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021