This week's round-up covers an eye catching winner of the G3 Prix Fleuret at Auteuil, success in the second stage of the Grand National Du Trot and exciting action on the flat...
Tertius (Hugo Journiac/Markus & Stephanie Nigge) made a successful comeback when scoring by one and a half lengths in the Listed Prix Cor de Chasse (1100m) at Fontainebleau on Tuesday 30 March. Out of Listed winner Rhenania, Tertius has improved with age and is expected to be stepped up to Group Three company for his next start.
Wally (Cristian Demuro/Jean-Claude Rouget) continued his arc of progression with a first Group Three success in the Prix Edmond Blanc (1600m) at Saint Cloud for four year olds and upwards on Saturday 3 April. The four-year-old had to fight hard in the closing stages to defeat Duhail (Vincent Cheminaud/André Fabre) by a neck and G1 QEII Stakes (1600m) winner The Revenant (Pierre-Charles Boudot/Francis-Henri Graffard) finished three-quarters of a length further back in third. Connections of the first three home are all looking to target the G2 Prix du Muguet (1600m) next. Wally remains undefeated over 1600m in six starts.
Big Five (Olivier Peslier/Francis-Henri Graffard) impressed with a five and a half length victory in the Listed Prix Right Royal (3000m) at Chantilly on Monday 5 April and remains unbeaten in five outings. Trainer Francis-Henri Graffard has confirmed the G3 Prix Barbeville (3100m) on 2 May at Longchamp as his next target. The second-placed Alkuin (Eddy Hardouin/Frédéric Rossi) bounced back to form after a disappointing run at Cagnes-sur-Mer and may head to Germany for a Group race in Berlin.
Marseille-Borély hosted the second stage of the G3 Grand National Du Trot (3000m) on Wednesday 31 March. Decoloration (Tony Le Beller/Jean-Michel Baudouin) enjoyed a smooth passage through the race and took over the lead before completing the first 1000m. Eliot d'Ambri (Alexandre Abrivard/ Eddy Planchenault) attempted to fight back in the final straight but Décoloration kept on strongly, setting a new record kilometre rating (1'12"4) over 3025m at the track. Despite defeat, Eliot d'Ambri also set a new track record with 1'13"0 over 3000m.
Otchoa Rouge (Adrien Fouchet/Patrice Quinton) won the Listed Grand Steeple-Chase Cross Country de Fontainebleau (6000m) on Saturday 3 April, which is the third leg of the Crystal Cup. It was a first Listed success for jockey Adrien Fouchet and Otchoa Rouge showed enough potential to suggest he can become one of the leading cross-country horses in France. Fouchet settled the six-year-old at the back of the field and progressed to the front as they set out on the last lap. He retained the lead for the remainder of the race, scoring by one and a half lengths over Tequila Sun (Paulin Blot/Marc Nicolau).
Goas Mat (James Reveley/Mickaël Seror) put in a neat round of jumping to win the Listed Prix Air Landais (4400m) at Auteuil on Sunday 4 April. The five-year-old was bred by small breeders Fabien Lusson and Paul Le Manac'h and his name means 'strong guy' – an apt description for the tall, athletic gelding. A winner at Pau of a claiming hurdle in January, Goas Mat made his steeplechase debut at Auteuil in early March winning by twelve lengths. His performance on Sunday was impressive and he could become a top-line steeplechaser in the future. Although he will face a weight penalty for this win, Goas Mat will be targeted at the Listed William Head Chase (4500m) at Compiegne in May.
Queen Du Berlais (Kevin Nabet/David Cottin) took the second Black Type race on the Auteuil card on Sunday 4 April, winning the G3 Prix Fleuret Chase by three-quarters of a length. The mare is the third Group winner out of King's Daughter, who has also produced James du Berlais (recently switched to Willie Mullins in Ireland). Queen du Berlais is unbeaten in two starts this year and is expected to make an impression at Group One level in the future. Trainer David Cottin had four winners on the card.