Test for Il Est Français in Prix Murat

5 April 2024

Il Est Français

Attention moves to Auteuil on Saturday as it stages another leg in its Grand Steeple-chase Masters series, this time the G.2 Prix Murat, run over 4400m of the famous exterior course reserved for chasers. In spite of its €270,000 prize-pot, just a half-dozen have been declared. There will, of course, be various reasons for this, although the presence of Il Est Français is sure to have scared off a number of hopefuls.

Since running out an impressive 11-lengths’ winner of a Grade 1 chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, Il Est Français has had the Grand Steeple de Paris as his main objective, prior, no doubt, to embarking on further cross-Channel adventures in the future. 

Grade 1 winner over hurdles at Auteuil in 2022, he was sent chasing last autumn and dutifully won all three starts, by an average of 9 lengths. He has yet to be tested over Auteuil’s outer course but returns refreshed to Paris for what is very possibly his last appearance before next month’s highlight. Put quite simply, he is the horse to beat.

Jazz Manouche took his game up a notch late last season and has the sort of profile that can do well at the highest level. He most recently secured the G.3 Prix Robert de Clermont-Tonnerre, 0.75L ahead of the progressive Gallipoli, who himself has ample ability, but stablemate Il Est Français has tabs on the win.

Gran Diose was disappointing on his return mid-March. Perhaps he still bears the scars from last year’s Prix la Haye Jousselin, in which he had a particularly tough time. He will need to reassure though if he is to have a chance in the Grand Steeple. 

Pau specialist Youtwo Glass has little choice but to race in Paris, although he has had less success at Auteuil. In such a small field, he could still pick up a sizeable cheque though. 

Chorail Debelair is not made of the same stuff as the others here, but he is a decent jumper and deserves to give it a shot.

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