The only Flat fixture on Wednesday is on the Atlantic coast at La Teste-de-Buch. Our man in France, Patrick Weaver previews the 10-race card and picks out the best bets...
"It is good to see Tamahere's trainer bringing her back to her best trip."
There is no getting away from the fact that Wednesday morning's meeting at La Teste-de-Buch is as humdrum as premium meetings come.
Trotting accounts for a great deal of the betting turnover in France, so there will be days like today when it is in the spotlight and racing, as we know it, is in the doldrums.
The Prix Nelcius over a mile at 13:07 is by far the most interesting of the non-handicaps with five of the seven runners rated in the 80s.
Best of her four runs
Tamahere's third to Pao Alto in the Grand Criterium de Bordeaux over a mile was the best of her four runs at the end of last season. Back in March she ran in a Listed over the best part of 10 furlongs on Deauville's all-weather and didn't see the trip out. It is good to see her trainer bringing her back to her best distance rather than taking her out of her comfort zone a second time.
Oftenwork closed out his first season with victory in a Toulouse maiden. The form that gives him a huge chance here is his second to Padron at Bordeaux in February with subsequent Listed winner Usak five lengths back in third. Look Of Victory was so far back you needed binoculars to see her.
Jockey bookings and use of the first colours on the Aga Khan's Serkiyna indicate she is thought more likely to win than her stablemate Rosmana, who is in the same ownership. Serkiyna got off the mark at the fifth attempt in a Cagnes maiden. Rosmana won a maiden at Lyon at the end of last year but ran lifelessly on her only start this year at Pornichet.
Project Fear has yet to be assessed by the handicapper but his trainer Christophe Ferland had two winners last Thursday and another at Chantilly on Monday. African Grey might as well have stayed at home.
Tamahere and Oftenwork should have the race between them, on their form to date, with marginal preference for the former.
Black Comedy can raise the roof/h2>
Ferland's strike rate of 25% over the last 10 days encourages me to put Black Comedy up for the next at 13:42, a handicap for three-year-olds over a mile. This one was with Richard Hannon last year, coming second at Ffos Las and Leicester in the space of a fortnight. You wouldn't conclude that he has improved but he has been placed twice off today's mark so has a good each-way chance.
Top weight Venantimi seems to have lost his way this year. His record here last summer was 3-2-1 but since his success he has failed to win claiming races elsewhere. Maybe a return to La Teste Bouche will pep him up but his owner-trainer's two recent runners have finished nearer last than first.
Amazing Filly, Nikita de Cerisy and Victory Cat have yet to be placed in a handicap, whereas Wedream won one at Bordeaux last time for which he has been put up 5lb.
Take a chance on this 25/1 shot in weak contest
The Prix Jacques Descudet at 14:52 is a tricky sprint handicap.
Wink Oliver is with his seventh trainer in as many seasons. Kristin Stubbs, David Dennis and Jo Hughes all ran him over further in England but he ran away with a six-furlong sprint by two and a half lengths at Bordeaux last May so still has a turn of foot.
Sainte Colore remains 3lb higher than when she won the second of two handicaps at Toulouse last spring. Underrated jock Julien Auge is back on board but she may need to drop a little in the weights before she is able to get competitive. The same applies to Torancia as she is 10lb higher than winning a handicap at Dax last summer.
Miniking is one for any shortlist despite being put up 4lb for his win over 110yds shorter at Le Croise-Laroche in March.
Irish import Encantador is 0 from 28, 21 of those runs coming in Ireland where Sheila Lavery trained her. She makes little appeal on her form over seven furlongs and a mile but she might make the frame over this six. The Pau winner Milk Bar is used to racing over a mile so is likely to be run off his feet.
Svoul was a smart two-year-old when owned by Qatar Racing but is a shadow of his former self. This is a weak contest, though, and if you are prepared to forgive his latest run - when he started slowly and made up the lost ground too quickly only to fade - he would have as good a chance as any, and is 25/1.
Silver to sparkle
The 11:55 is a maiden for three-year-old fillies. Godolphin's Thread Of Silver has joined Henri Pantall from Charlie Appleby in search of a win to enhance her pedigree. She wore a hood when placed on the first of her two runs over seven furlongs at Newmarket as well as on her final start at Yarmouth over six. It is not on here, so Pantall must think she can win without.
Jane Soubagne's two runners were both placed on their only starts to date. Freechope was beaten a short-head in a Deauville maiden won by Healer. The winner was 7/4 favourite to follow up at Marseille last week but did not get the run of the race and came fourth.
Stablemate Run Like Hell ran promisingly at Chantilly in April last year but has not been out since.