The only meeting today is at Lyon Parilly, one of the city's two racecourses. Racing journalist Patrick Weaver previews the 10-race card at the provincial track...
"She should be good enough to cope with today's opposition."
Former champion trainer Jean-Claude Rouget has had an indifferent start to the week by his own high standards.
Few of his 17 runners over the last four days have finished nearer last than first, but only three have won. He will be disappointed with that modest strike, particularly as three of his five beaten favourites started odds-on.
The first of his two runners at Lyon, Grey Mystere, ought to win the 10:45. She won a nursery at Clairefontaine in August and in the autumn ran second to Pao Alto in a Bordeaux Listed race. The winner kept on strongly to take a Group Three comfortably on Wednesday, strengthening the case for backing Grey Mystere in what is a far weaker contest.
Eight winners so far this week
Pierre-Charles Boudot pops down from Paris for five rides. Lyon Parilly was one of his local tracks when he was a kid and he will be looking to add to his eight winners so far this week. His mount in the opener, San Fabrizio, was beaten four lengths in both his maidens last year but they were on the Paris circuit against the likes of Victor Ludorum who was favourite for a Classic trial at Longchamp on Monday. At 5/1 this morning he is a fair each-way bet.
French Aseel was seven lengths clear of Moscou at the line when he got off the mark in a maiden over course and distance before lockdown. This is a good deal more competitive, though.
On to the Prix des Poulains et Pouliches at 12:15. Hellenistique went into several notebooks when runner-up to at Le Pin au Haras last October. He then won his next two starts - a maiden at Le Croise-Laroche and a tough conditions race at Angers. He has to give 4lb to all his rivals but his attitude can not be faulted and he should give us a run for our money if fully fit after a break.
You can bet Barcelona and France forward Antoine Griezmann will be watching his beloved Loquito on the French racing channel.
Improved with each run
His colt improved with each run at Cagnes prior to the lockdown, and he was only beaten a nose in the semi-valuable Prix Policeman last time. If he carries on where he left off, Loquito should make a race of it with Hellenistique.
Lootah won here and at Cholet last autumn. Step By Step has the arguable advantage of running twice in March, scoring at Fontainebleau before finishing a length in front of Poet's Black with Woot City three lengths further back in sixth.
Adelphie is having her third run here. She was a conclusive winner of a maiden over a furlong shorter having finished second over a mile before that.
The maiden at 12:50 could well go to Night And Day, whose siblings including Jessica Harrington's Grade One-winning hurdler and chaser Supasundae. The Flat winners among them include Royal Peculiar who reached a mark of 90 when with Sir Henry Cecil.
Run of the mill
Night And Day's recent Toulouse is pretty run of the mill and this daughter of Sea The Moon would be running in Paris if she was capable of winning there. She should be good enough to cope with today's opposition.
Three of these have handicap marks with the overnight favourite, Sassandra, officially rated marginally better than Varvara and several pounds better than Bleusky.
The likeliest winner of the maiden at 13:24 is Salesman, a son of Dubawi that is a half-brother to the Group One winner Solow and in the same ownership as Night And Day. Also bred by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, whose assets include the House Of Chanel, Salesman was placed at Deauville last year and again at Compiegne in March.
The only one likely to make a race of it is Litigator. His close second to Chachnak at Vichy over seven furlongs on good to soft looks even more decent with the winner taking third behind Pao Alto in a Classic trial at Longchamp this week.
Favoured by the conditions
Monsieur Croco has a particularly good chance at the weights as he is favoured by the conditions of the Listed Prix Bedel at 13.58.
Gregory Benoist's mount kicked off last season with a win here over 11 furlongs. He then won at Strasbourg before a fifth in a Group Two at Longchamp on heavy. He is a tough sort and I am hopeful he will stay the extra furlong today.
San Huberto won a similar race over course and distance on good going last May, and later took a Deauville Listed race over a mile and six. He came unstuck on sticky going at Longchamp on his last start, finishing 11 lengths behind the third Iskanderhon who he meets on the same terms here.
Skyward is unbeaten but he is officially rated 8lb below Monsieur Croco. On the plus side he has won over the trip.
Argyron is another that will have no problem staying, He has yet to win first time out, though, and lacks the class of Monsieur Croco.