French Racing Tips: Figuero fancied to burst Ballon in final Grade 1

Jump to it at Auteuil
There's top jumping action at Auteuil with over €1million up for grabs on the eight-race card

The €1million card at Auteuil today includes two championship races at 13:00 and 14:50. Patrick Weaver previews the meeting and highlights the best bets...

"Magrudy is very much suited by the race conditions as he gets 8lb from Gardons Le Sourire who is officially rated 2lb lower."

France's last two Grade 1s of the year stand out on the eight-race card at Auteuil.

The market leaders in the Prix La Haye Jousselin at 14:50 are the first three home in the Grand Steeplechase de Paris last month.

You shouldn't necessarily expect them to finish in the same order as they met over three miles six last time. This race is over three, three and a half.

Figuero fancied to avenge Grand Steep defeat

It was only after the last that Louisa Carberry's stable star Docteur De Ballon got the better of the favourite, Figuero, with Feu Follet half a length back in third, Roxinela, a further eight lengths back in fifth andD'Jango last.

I can't stress enough how much difference two-and-a-half furlongs can make. There was little between the first five when they jumped 2 out, yet Docteur De Ballon was five lengths clear at the line thanks to a turn of foot the others did not have at that point.

It could be a different story this afternoon and Figuero is likely to be ridden differently so that he still has something left to repel challengers.

Four of the 10 that line up contested the Prix General Donnio Chase three weeks ago. The outcome was a turn-up with Blasimon, an 8.7/1 shot, beating his odds-on stablemate Lou Buck's. The second favourite Bebe D'Or was fourth and Roxinela a long way back in fifth.

The three points that have led me to snub Blasimon is that Francois Nicolle's main man Angelo Zuliani prefers Figuero, the Prix General Donnio is Listed rather than a Grade 1; and the distance was two miles, six. There is an extra five and a half furlongs this afternoon.

So for me it is Figuero to beat Docteur De Ballon.

Saga tipped to extend winning run

Raiders won the Grand Prix d'Automne at 13:00 three years running - Reve de Sivola in 2013, Zarkandar in 2014 and Thousand Stars in 2015 - but Thyme Hill and Paisley Park ran at Newbury on Friday rather than go for the €110,000 first prize in this three-mile stayers' hurdle.

With the limited number of opportunities at the top level, it is no surprise to see the first three in last month's Champion Hurdle go head to head again and they head the betting.

Paul's Saga outstayed L'Autonomie that day, with Galop Marin 10 lengths back. The winner has since returned to win the Prix Carmarthen from Beau Gosse and Galop Marin.

Paul's Saga is on a roll and my tip. There are, though, two points that are worth making. Galop Marin has won the last two runnings of this Grade 1 - beating Paul's Saga five lengths last November - so he is worth a look if you fancy an each-way bet. L'Autonomie had won her previous eight races and will appreciate this furlong-shorter trip.

Magrudy looks a good thing at the weights

Magrudy can take the first of the Graded races on the card, the Prix Morgex at 11:55.

Francois Nicolle's four-year-old has run in six races this year, being placed in two valuable chases either side of winning his sole 2020 start over hurdles.

He is very much suited by the race conditions as he gets 8lb from Gardons Le Sourire who is officially rated 2lb lower. Magrudy's stablemate Pacha Senam would be best of the rest, all of whom need to improve a stone to beat the favourite. Magrudy wins bar a fall.

Seduction's a tempting bet in Prix Andre Michel

Seduction should be another winner for Nicolle, who is a master at finding the right races for his horses.

The 11 runners in the Grade 3 Prix Andre Michel at 13:35 have won well over €1million between them but none is in better form than Seduction.

She has won two Grade 3 hurdles and her only setback was last time out when seventh over a furlong and a half further than today's race. Her two wins this year were both over two and a quarter miles and the return to that distance should see her back in the winner's enclosure.

Cotee Sud and Byzance Du Berlais are likely to fill the places. The former has had her moments this year without winning. When fifth to L'Autonomie here in May she finished ahead of Paul's Saga and Galop Marin, both Grade 1 winners.

Byzance Du Berlais was really up against it last time when fourth to Paul's Saga, Beau Gosse and Galop Marin in the Prix Carmarthen. That trio are all in the Grade 1 earlier on this card, so Ludovic Philipperon's mount has a fair each-way chance in this weaker race.

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