This Sunday 11th April is the day ParisLongchamp reopens its doors for the 2021 season and we are spoiled with no less than a Listed race, three Group 3s and one Group 2.
The Group 3 Prix la Force for 3yo colts and the Prix Vanteaux for fillies, where the well-esteemed Petricor makes her seasonal bow, are two fascinating races early on the card, as well as the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt where Skalleti and Gold Trip are in for a mouthwatering clash.
But my first selection comes in the Group 3 Prix Noailles at 15.45, in which several contenders are likely to be seen in the Prix du Jockey-Club at the start of June. André Fabre had the first and second in the last running of this race in 2019 and has just one in this year, MEDIA STREAM, a son of Frankel that opened his account on debut last back end on the fibersand before he finished a distant third to Pretty Tiger at Saint-Cloud on his return to competition.
The latter was seven lengths in front of André Fabre's charge on a very heavy ground, but I can't see the master trainer running his horse again against him, without a chance of reversing the tables.
Pretty Tiger had two runs this year, at Cagnes sur Mer, prior to his scintillating effort at Saint-Cloud and was race fit, which was not the case for Media Stream, who furthermore, did not enjoy the heavy ground, according to his jockey PC Boudot.
I think he will have come on immensely from this run and will make a much bigger impact this time around.
Sa'ad and Cheshire Academy are two other fascinating contenders, but I know that Media Stream is held in high esteem by his connections and that we should see a different horse to the one we saw at Saint-Cloud.
My second selection comes in the eighth and last race on the card at 16.45, a 7f handicap for 4yo and upwards. Whoever was on FUNNY VALENTINE when she ran at Fontainebleau must have endured a lot of frustration in the last 200 yards as she never got a run, whilst jockey Anthony Crastus desperately looked for a gap to open.
A frustrating 10th place was the final result, but today, it is Mickael Barzalona who is back aboard the daughter of Evasive, on whom he won two of her three victories. The mare trained by Christophe Ferland at La Teste has been on a career-low mark since the beginning of 2021 and she ran twice with a lot of credit at Chantilly before her unlucky last attempt.
Unplaced in two previous outings over today's course & distance, she was nonetheless a very pleasing fifth in a competitive handicap on Arc weekend 2020. She is best when she comes off the pace and we could worry with the large number of runners today, but the finish at the second winning post of ParisLongchamp always provide closers with an extra chance.
The race can be considered weaker than any of the races she has run this year and it seems the ideal entry to see her back in the winners’ enclosure, almost twenty-one months after her last success.
My next tipping column will be on Tuesday 13th April for action from Tarbes and Chantilly, two meetings shown live on Sky Sports Racing.
Laurent's Best Bets:
MEDIA STREAM (11-2 bet365)
FUNNY VALENTINE (9-2 bet365)