Nicky Henderson has inherited Casablanca Mix from Emmanuel Clayeux but she struggled to cope in this grade in France and her new stablemate VERDANA BLUE is more interesting. Only a neck behind Dusky Legend in a Grade 2 at The Festival here last month when Coillte Lass was well behind, she is more straightforward than her old rival and capable of reversing the placings. Deauville Crystal has made giant strides since upped in trip and the four-year-old can also make her presence felt while there should be more to come from Brillare Momento now she’s got her head in front.
Casablanca Mix (FR) (10-10) at Auteuil 2m 2f sft in Nov.
Coillte Lass (IRE) 28-1 (11-7) Mid-division, ridden and brief effort after 2 out, no impression, weakening when not much room before last, 11th of 16, 22 1/4l behind Let's Dance (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 1f (1) gd in Mar.
Dusky Legend 20-1 (11-5) Tracked leaders, not fluent 2nd, every chance between last 2, unable to quicken last, kept on under pressure flat, 3rd of 16, 3l behind Let's Dance (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 1f (1) gd in Mar.
Brillare Momento (IRE) 2-1fav (10-12) Mid-division, headway from 7th, challenged 2 out, soon led, stayed on well, comfortably, won at Southwell 2m 4f (4) gd in Mar beating Swatow (10-12) by 3 1/4l, 10 ran.
Naranja 11-1 (10-12) Chased winner until after 1st, stayed handy, not fluent 4th, niggled along 7th, last 4 out, soon weakened, 4th of 5, dist behind Lastbutnotleast (10-12) at Doncaster 3m lst (1) sft in Mar.
Verdana Blue (IRE) 25-1 (11-2) Tracked leaders, led between last 2, headed last, soon edged right, kept on under pressure, no extra close home, 4th of 16, 3 1/4l behind Let's Dance (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 1f (1) gd in Mar.
Deauville Crystal (FR) 6-5fav (10-7) Chased leaders, not fluent and lost ground 4th, closed 3 out, soon led, headed before next, led again before last, stayed on well to draw clear flat, won at Warwick 2m hcp fll (2) sft in Mar beating Giveaway Glance (10-6) by 3 1/4l, 6 ran.
Smaoineamh Alainn (IRE) 3-1 (10-12) With leader, went on 4 out, drew readily clear before last, comfortably, won at Chepstow 2m (4) sft in Mar beating Multigifted (10-5) by 8l, 10 ran.