Marseille Borely stages the afternoon action when Chantilly's early card is over. Racing journalist Patrick Weaver has four recommended tips at the two tracks...
"Even allowing for Maystar failing to see out a mile, that was a cracking effort from today's top weight."
After a weekend of jumping at Auteuil, the spotlight is back on the Flat. All 19 races are on turf with good going for Marseille's afternoon meeting at 15.05. It is good to soft at Chantilly which starts at 09.55.
The feature at Marseille Borely is a race for three-year-olds that have not won a Group race at 17:05. Horses at this level in the south of France will come up against each other repeatedly if they don't go up to Paris.
Patzefredo and Maki Maki were first and second in a Listed over course and distance in November, Patzefredo leading from start to finish. We have not seen Maki Maki since but Patzefredo, who has a 3lb penalty for that length win, won at Cagnes-sur-Mer in January before a sixth out in Qatar where he finished two lengths clear of Archie Watson's Maystar which is officially rated 97. Even allowing for Maystar failing to see out a mile, that was a cracking effort from today's top weight.
Confirmed his wellbeing
Park Of Diamond confirmed his wellbeing when finishing strongly to take a handicap at Marseille Pont De Vivaux last week. A winner at Cagnes prior to the lockdown, he is very much on the upgrade and a safe bet to make the first three.
Cleod'or is best of the rest. He has gained both his wins at Marseille's other track, gives 100% every time and has been placed in nine of his 18 races.
Patzefredo and Park Of Diamond have the benefit of racing last week, and I would expect them to hold the challenge of Maki Maki, who had the winter off.
In the most valuable handicap on the card at 17:35 it is tempting to side with the Compiegne winner, Just A Formality. However, he has been put up 7lb and has never been able to win off his revised mark in the past.
Infinite Passion won a claimer over shorter on the all-weather at Deauville with Christophe Soumillon up. She's up in trip, racing on turf rather than Polytrack and got a lesser jockey in the saddle so may not be the answer either.
The key to this tricky handicap could be the Prix du Roi Rene over today's trip of 10 furlongs at Marseille Pont de Vivaux in January.
Stablemates Le Bandit and Poet's Flower lined up for that with Le Bandit winning and finishing three and a half lengths clear of Poet's Flower. With the weights similar and the jockeys the same, Le Bandit looks the best each-way option at this morning's odds of 9/1.
Earlier on the card, the Prix Gerard Samoun at 15:35 has attracted a field of 11 that has won £1million euros between them. The two at the top are regularly placed in Listed company with Rocquemont the more consistent. The four-year-old has finished in the money in 14 of his 15 races, and has turned in three solid efforts over the winter at Cagnes since finishing third - three lengths behind Edinson - over nine furlongs on soft here in November.
Changed trainers since he last ran
Palavas is one of the big earners but he has changed trainers since he last ran, joining Laura Lemiere who has had just one winner from 20 runners in 2020 and notched a mere five successes last year.
Edinson has been hurdling since beating Rocquemont at the end of last year and was supplemented as an afterthought for this race. He is a risky bet but I can see him beating Rocquemont again in receipt of 16lb.
The trainer that did best over the winter and in March was Frederic Rossi. His four winners in the last week have kept him at the top of the table ahead of Jean-Claude Rouget and he runs two in the maiden at 16:05.
Jockey bookings suggest Revolver Eyes, who was third in a Saint-Cloud on her handicap debut, is the better fancied with Franck Blondel in the saddle.
Sylvain Ruis, who generally plays second fiddle to Blondel, is on Like A Charm whose debut third to Savarin and Dream And Do at Deauville, when with Freddy Head, has worked out well. The first two home both won Group Three races next time out while the fourth won at Craon, and the fifth won at Longchamp.
Maybe the wheels have fallen off Like A Charm but if they have not she really out to break her duck today. The market will be a good guide to her chance.
Diam Spirit, runner-up three times at Lyon, is not here just to make up the numbers. This is her stiffest task yet, though.
Early start for Group 3 contest
The Group 3 Bertrand du Breuil Longines at Chantilly is due off at 11:01 before a good many will have opened their Racing Posts and logged into their Betfair accounts.
Six of the nine starters won last time out, and the pick of them would be Skalleti. He has won his last seven including the Group 2 Prix Dollar on the Saturday of the Arc weekend. He accounted for the Newmarket-trained pair Mountain Angel and Line Of Duty that day. Champion jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot is again in the saddle.
It is interesting that Mickael Barzalona is on Nature's Colors rather than Godolphin's other runner Impulsif, which on the face of it has the better CV. Their respective Sportsbook odds of 5/2 and 9/1 overnight reflect Barzalona's choice of mount, not their form as Impulsif's Racing Post rating is 4lb higher.
The Dubawi six-year-old Plumatic has changed owners and stables since his third to Miss O'Connor and Kourkan in the Group Three Prix Perth at Saint-Cloud last October. Whatever he does here, he should give his new connections plenty of fun as he is what we would term a 'Saturday horse'.
With the prize money what it is in France, every day is a 'Saturday' - even a Monday.