17-2 STRIKE GIVES DAQMAN A GOOD DAY AT CHANTILLY: Mazeltof (WON 17-2) gave Daqman a big profit at Chantilly yesterday but his nap ran inexplicably badly at Marseille-Borely. Today he plans for a Saint-Cloud double from fillies trained by the leading French handler Jean-Claude Rouget but there are also BETDAQ bets at 11.0, 8.0 and 6.0.

‘CHILDHOOD DREAM’ OF A WIN FOR RISING STAR STABLE: First a tribute to English training methods from the burgeoning jumps stable of ‘Gaby’ Leenders, who landed an Auteuil double at the weekend, including a major Grade-chase win, which he describes as a ‘childhood dream’ come true. Headlines:



It was all uphill to begin with. But baby-faced Gabriel ‘Gaby’ Leenders credits David Pipe and Nicky Henderson with training methods which struck gold at the weekend.

He declared Sunday’s Auteuil strike ‘un reve de gosse’ (a childhood dream) after winning the 55,000-euro Prix Jean Stern Grade-2 chase with Gardons Le Sourire (‘keep smiling’).

After only six years as a trainer, he had struck form big time after the restart when Heros d’Ainay was a 12-lengths Auteuil Listed winner on Saturday.

“I hope it’s a winning streak,’ said Gaby. ‘I’ve always said that Gardons Le Sourire was an animal outside the norm. He’s a horse you can do a good job with.’

Leenders works his string at a yard between Le Mans and Nantes, using methods he learned from Alain de Royer-Dupre in France, after time in England with Pipe and Henderson.

Says Gaby (avec un sourie): ‘While our horses don’t have to climb a hill as steep as they have to do at Nicky Henderson’s, they will still finish their work going uphill.

‘My horses also work in fractions, pretty much like the English do. I like combining the English way with the French training methods. It seems to work for me. What was good enough for Pipe and Henderson cannot be ignored.”

Gaby, at 6ft 3ins the tallest jockey in the French weighing-room (in any weighing-room?), moved to training in 2014 with just five horses. He now has 100 next door to the stables of his father, Etienne, who has runners at Saint-Cloud today.

‘I learned in the weighing-room, and also from Pipe and Henderson, that only the best riders will do for your horses,’ said a self-effacing trainer, as he nodded a smile of gratitude in the direction of France’s leading jumps jockey, Clement Lefebvre, who rode both Gardons Le Sourire and Heros d’Ainay.


⚠️ LEADING FRENCH TRAINERS Christophe Escuder 24, Jean-Claude Rouget 24, Christophe Ferland 22, Fabrice Vermeulen 22, Frederic Rossi 21. At Saint-Cloud, Nicolas Caullery 2, Francis-Henri Graffard 2.

Christophe Escuder drew level with Jean-Claude Rouget at the top of the trainers’ table yesterday, with a winner at each meeting, Chantilly and Marseille Borely.

⚠️ LEADING FRENCH JOCKEYS Pierre-Charles Boudot 54, Maxime Guyon 41, Christophe Soumillon 41, Anthony Crastus 27, Cristian Demuro 27. At Saint-Cloud, Boudot 3, Alexis Badel 2, Mickael Barzalona 2.

Despite a Chantilly treble by Maxime Guyon, which pushed him up to second in the jockeys’ table, the leader, Pierre-Charles Boudot pulled further away with a double of his own.

11.10 Saint-Cloud (1m, conditions) Second, third and fourth all won after Moujik opened his account at Toulouse in October.

He’s a son of the leading sire in France, Siyouni, who is responsible for Sottsass and Laurens.

There are four other winners in the race today, but Moujik is expected to go on to better things and, incidentally, to make up for the Rouget flop with Moonlightpainter yesterday.

We knew our fate when the odds started to slide (keep your Daq up for a constant check on the market). Moujik was paying 9 for 10 on BETDAQ this morning.

11.40 Saint-Cloud (1m, fillies conditions) Another Rouget filly; another Siyouni, this one out of a Footstepsinthesand mare, who was half-sister to French Oaks winner Stacelita.

The name is Waahaat, a winner here at Saint-Cloud last autumn from a subsequent placer behind the impressive Raabihah in a Listed Classic trial recently.


12.10 Saint-Cloud (1m 4f, Grade-3 fillies and mares) Farafra (BETDAQ 8.0 for Etienne Leenders) has a solid record when fresh and might outgun Gannat, whose stable – Alain Couetil’s – has not been sighted after the restart.

However, Couetil runs three and whatever is fittest could benefit from feeling that she’s in a home gallop!

After two wins in bumpers on very soft and heavy terrain, Genola ran an excellent third at Cheltenham in January and goes well fresh, but can she perform as well on this better ground, down in trip?

12.50 Saint-Cloud (1m 2f handicap) Though 11.0 on BETDAQ, Matandar seems to have a lot going for him. Well handicapped despite a touch of class.

Goes well fresh, trained by Fabrice Vermeulen, who has moved up joint third top trainer, and ridden by Maxime Guyon, now up to joint second leading rider.

But the money has come for Pierre-Charles Boudot’s mount, Top Max (6.0 favourite in an open race), who has winning form on today’s surface and has never been out of the first four.

The grey Fairmont has also been well supported, and apparently connections are banking on ‘sharp’ improvement today.


11.10 Saint-Cloud (supernap)
BET 20pts win MOUJIK

11.40 Saint-Cloud (win 10)
BET 6pts win WAAHAT

12.10 Saint-Cloud (win 10)
BET 1.4pts win FARAFRA

12.50 Saint-Cloud (win 20 each)
BET 4pts win TOP MAX

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