A little gift from the handicappers

France Galop was nice to us this week, putting Versaki in with an initial handicap mark of just 30. I was worried he’d be a lot higher. This mark leaves him tremendously well-placed for the sprint next week in Maisons-Laffitte. I was sure he would be in the top division of the Tierce, but he will fall mid-way through the second division, where he should have a very good chance to bring home money.

Hard Way, meanwhile, is entered for his comeback race on April 11 at Longchamp, but I’m not sure he’ll be quite ready. He is working well but still hasn’t changed his coat to something more spring-like and I’m still not quite happy with his top-line muscles. He has started back on his regime of oats soaked in Guinness at night, which should help him pick up some more weight. Belle and Turfani are waiting for better ground before we can look seriously at races for them, and the rest are progressing steadily toward coming back, but they’re not ready yet.

On another note, a breeder friend of mine has a filly available that could be interesting. She’s a two-year-old by Super Celebre out of a Zafonic mare, and she is eligible for French owners’ premiums. She wasn’t sent to the sales as a yearling because she was sway-backed, so she wouldn’t hold much commercial appeal. But she has now had nearly two months of pre-training and is apparently flying, with her back giving her no trouble at all. Reports are it would be a shame not to go forward with her because she is showing good potential. Anyone interested in buying or leasing her should e-mail me – and remember that French owners’ premiums are 78 percent for two-year-olds.

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