World Racing

French Racing Tips: Noble Yeats going for Gold at 11/4

Zarak The Brave with his rider Paul Townend
Willie Mullins' Zarak The Brave is a short price to take the four-year-old hurdle crown

Patrick Weaver highlights the best bets on Auteuil's €2million 10-race card...

  • Willie Mullins has four runners in the Grade 1s

  • Nick Littmoden hoping for a bulls-eye in the opener

  • French star can rattle Zarak The Brave's cage


Auteuil, 15:05 - Back Noble Yeats @ 11/4

Yesterday was the French Champion Hurdle, today is the French Gold Cup.

Its full name is the Grand Steeplechase - 'Grand Steep' for short - and the favourite is none other than the 2022 Grand National winner Noble Yeats.

Emmet Mullins' runner is a worthy favourite for France's most valuable chase as he is the classiest in the 18-strong line-up, and comes to Paris in form. He was fourth in both the Gold Cup and Grand National and clearly has the stamina needed to win.

There is a but, though, and it's a big but. On his only previous visit to Auteuil, in the autumn when ridden by James Reveley, he downed tools early in the race and was pulled up.

He has been ridden subsequently by Sean Bowen, whose record on him is 11344.

I was hoping he might be an each-way price but he is 11/4, so back him to win.

Last year's third is back for more

Willie Mullins hit the crossbar yesterday with Klassical Dream, who was placed for the second year running in the Champion Hurdle.

Ireland's top trainer runs Franco De Port and Carefully Selected, the former having the distinct advantage of experience of Auteuil.

He was third to Sel Jem and Gex in the Grand Steep last May, and has come back three times since. Last month he was third to Poly Grandchamp and Dream Wish in the Prix Ingre, and would need to step up on that form to end a losing run that stretches back to 2020.

Carefully Selected's heart is in the right place but he is a plodder that lacks a turn of foot at the highest level.

Nick Littmoden is just outside the top 30 trainers in France. He has done pretty well since leaving the UK, winning over €200,000 for his owners in the first five months of this year.

It is impossible to fancy his Imperil, though, as the seven-year-old is a classy handicapper rather than a Grade 1 horse. He was 15 lengths behind Franco De Port last month - Gran Diose and Spes Militurf also finished ahead of him - so he makes no appeal.

Carriacou first ran in this race in 2017, coming third. On the injured list throughout 2018, the veteran won it in 2019, came fourth in 2020, second in 2021 and missed last year with another injury.

He won his prep race for this over hurdles well enough - from Gran Diose and Gex - but he has to be on the wain at his age. He might be placed but he won't be carrying my money each-way.

Back Noble Yeats @

11/4

Auteuil, 13:00 - No bet

Littmoden's best chance of a winner would be Sumsam in the opening amateur riders' chase at 13:00.

Patrick Mullins has been booked to ride the eight-year-old who won his first start for Littmoden at Pau in February, and has run well in defeat since. His third to Feu Follet and Heros d'Ainay over hurdles last time means he is well worth a second look.

Ideal d'Allier would be the best of the home team. He won over hurdles at Mont-De-Marsan and Fontainebleau during the winter but was a well-beaten second on heavy over fences at Le Lion d'Angers in March.

He is inconsistent, though, and it would be nice to think that Sumsam will take advantage should Ideal d'Allier have an off-day.

Auteuil, 13:35 - No bet

Our three-year-old hurdlers have yet to really get going in the UK but they have been on the go in France since Fontainebleau in mid-March.

Jigme bids for a hat-trick of wins at Auteuil in the Prix Aguado and it is hard to see anything stopping him despite his 9lb penalty.

Given he beat Leon Du Berlais six and a half lengths on his debut, then won the Prix Go Ahead by 12 lengths from Boom Boom Ciao, Surinfil, Winstonpresident, Worth A Team and Ventura Highway he is fully entitled to start short odds.

Auteuil, 16.20 - Back Losange Bleu e/w @ 11/2

Back to the Grade 1s and there are three Irish runners in the Prix Alain du Breil at 16:20 - the French equivalent of the Triumph Hurdle.

Paul Townend takes over from Daryl Jacob on Zarak The Brave, who has twice finished runner-up to his stablemate Lossiemouth, the top hurdler of her age. Firstly at Fairyhouse and most recently at Punchestown where Willie Mullins had the 1-2-3 in the Ballymore Champion Four-year-old Hurdle.

Gala Marceau was third, with Andrew McNamara's Enjoy The Dream eight lengths back in fifth.

There is no obvious reason to see the trio finishing in a different order, so it's no surprise Zarak The Brave is 11/8 in the Sportsbook, with Gala Marceau 5/1 and Enjoy The Dream 11/1.

Sandwiched in between at 9/2, is the best of the home team, Losange Bleu. He has accounted for several of these in the course of winning his five races. St Donats is the only horse to beat him in his last six starts and he isn't in the line-up.

Zara The Brave should win but Losange Bleu was worth a punt at 11/2 yesterday, and still appeals at his current price.

Back Losange Bleu each-way @

9/2

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