France's Champion Hurdler Theleme 1/41.25 for Grand Prix
Europe's top juvenile chasers and hurdlers in action
Kara Diamond can sparkle
Auteuil stages its main meeting of the autumn this weekend. There's over €1million in prizemoney on the Saturday and even more on Sunday.
There seems little point trying to make a case for something to beat Theleme 1/41.25 in the Grand Prix d'Automne at 14:32.
The six-year-old won it 12 months ago and previous winners have a good record. Alex De Larredya won it in 2016 and 2017. Galop Marin won the next four runnings and Theleme was the first of his age in a while to win it last November.
Gaetan Masure has ridden him in his last four races including the Racing TV Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil in May. Last time he won the trial for Saturday's race by two and a half lengths from La Cheneviere 5/16.00, Ine Anjou 7/18.00 and Vae Patron 20/121.00.
Sophie Leech's Lucky One 50/151.00 was eighth in the feature handicap on the same card, having previously finished 20 lengths-plus behind Theleme in May and La Cheneviere and Ine Anjou in June.
Fortunes Melody 40/141.00, a winner of mares-only races, was successful at Uttoxeter and Worcester when with Harry Fry last autumn.
She and Norville 25/126.00 are in-form handicappers, who are unlikely to trouble the market leaders.
Ine Anjou would be my pick for the forecast, rather than La Cheneviere but there is little to choose between these two.
The opening race, the Prix Coq Gaulois at 10:55, is a novices' chase for four-year-old non-thoroughbreds.
The three winners over fences are Jarco (at Haras du Pin last month), Juhenium (at Morlaix in May) and Janvier (at Meslay-du-Maine and Maure de Bretagne).
Javelot has won twice round Auteuil over hurdles, and Joke once, but neither has a good record in novice chases at the track.
Jolivent and Jeu De Role have won over hurdles at Nancy. Jacks Parrot won a bumper at Fontainebleau. Jolimay and Jalzan are maidens.
All 10 are on a learning curve, and it will come down to their jumping on the day.
Jarco's turn of foot won him the race at Haras du Pin. If he is still in with a shout at the last it could make the difference between winning and losing here.
My bet of the day runs in the Prix Oenas at 11:30.
You would expect it to be one of the four winners over hurdles but it is Jackson Ville.
His third to Jeu d'Enfant and Joy The Countess over course and distance was a decent enough debut, confirming the promise of his Flat success at Vichy. He has been off since June, but if fit he should give the market leaders something to think about.
Jeu De Thaix is potentially top class and deserves to be favourite. A winner of a Grade 1 bumper at Longchamp in September, he then beat previous winners by a wide margin on his hurdling debut over course and distance.
Compiegne winner Louvetot has beeen off since falling here in March. Super Quartz won his first start over hurdles at Lyon, so is as willing as ever despite having 26 races in the last 24 months. He gives his all, but this is his stiffest task to date.
Jeu De Thaix ought to win but Jackson Ville is an each-way price, and worth a bet.
The Grade 2 Prix Congress at 13:15 was the first chase that Frodon ran in back in 2015. It's for three-year-olds and the most significant trial is the Prix Noiro, won this year by Kaadam from Fabuleux Rico, Dschingis Love and Mask d'Amour.
Using the third as a yardstick, Kaadam looks a better bet than the other two that won their most recent starts, Saga Girl and Game Of Storm.
Kara Diamond and La Spezia have penalties for winning the Grade 3 hurdles for three-year-old fillies ahead of the Prix Magalen Bryant at 13:50.
The one Listed winner in the line-up, Funny Berry, was beaten seven lengths by La Spezia over course and distance last month but is 6lb better off, so there is a chance she will turn the tables.
Kamsinea is hard to evaluate as her eye-catching success over course and distance came in a race for fillies that had not previously run over hurdles. I'm dismissing her as those behind that had run on the Flat were moderate.
La Pinsonniere would be best of the rest.
Read Tony Calvn's Saturday Racing Tips here.