The ground at Longchamp this weekend looks ideal for the end-of-season flat highlight with temperatures set to rise in Paris in the second half of the week. Note the French racing authorities like to include the word soft in their official going description irrespective of how accurate it is. Enable was shortened to 4/6 from 8/11 with BetVictor on Tuesday morning for an historic third Arc success with Juddmonte International winner Japan out to 5s and leading home challenger Sottsass 6s.
Nottingham must pass an 8am inspection on Wednesday morning to see if racing can go ahead. With that in mind we begin our preview at Newcastle. In the opening 2m handicap Rubenesque was given a terrific ride from the front to win at Pontefract last time and he will be a threat to all if given a soft lead.
Houlton (5.55) has finished runner up in five of his last nine starts and is edging up the weights, but I just feel he may have the race run to suit and the hope is that talented young apprentice Stefano Cherchi can leave his challenge to the last possible minute on Marco Botti’s four-year-old.
Tasr (6.55) represents Enable’s connections and it will be disappointing if this son of Kingman cannot break his maiden tag having shaped with considerable promise when fourth at Newmarket on debut. The colt was very slowly away on that occasion but does hold an entry in the Group 1 Vertem Security Stakes at Doncaster later in the month.
Perfect Number (7.25) was well backed on debut when winning at Chelmsford despite meeting trouble in running and being a bit too keen. I felt she was well on top in the end and is taken to confirm the form with runner up New Angel on 7lbs worse terms. The latter was market leader for that Chelmsford event and ran well enough indicating that this stiffer track would suit, but I felt the selection won with a bit in hand although she will need to improve at the revised weights.
Over at Kempton and Saeer looks sure to have his supporters in the Mile Novice event for Sir Michael Stoute having been slowly away at Leicester on debut before making eye-catching progress when the penny dropped. That run at Oadby was over 7f and the step up to a mile looks sure to suit.
The nod, however, goes to the Godolphin newcomer Ya Hayati (6.10) who is the first foal of a Grade 1 dirt winner in the States. The market will give us valuable clues as to his ability, but he is certainly bred for the job and gets the vote from his good draw in stall three.
Cadre Du Noir (6.40) is blinkered for the first time having been slowly away on his handicap debut last time before being rushed up into third by Oisin Murphy. In the circumstances he ran a good race although he was swamped in the final furlong by a couple of rivals who had been ridden with more restraint. Murphy keeps the ride tonight and will know more about his mount.
Purdey’s Gift (7.10) made his reappearance in a five-runner event at Newcastle when he raced in lane four for much of the race. He was not given a hard time inside the final couple of furlongs to be beaten a couple of lengths by two rivals who are now rated 93 and 94. With that in mind he looks fairly treated from an opening mark of 74 although he has been off the track for the best part of six months and has a moderate draw in stall eight. He gets the each way vote in a hot-looking 1m 3f handicap for Andrew Balding.
Percy’s Prince (8.10) did us a favour when scoring over C&D last week and I hope he can defy a 5lbs penalty for Sir Mark Prescott. The 3-y-old is an out-and-out stayer and Luke Morris will be desperate to get into a prominent position from his excellent draw. If he is on the pace with a circuit to run, then Luke Morris will want to ensure there is a decent gallop and the race will not develop into a sprint. Barca is proving disappointing but could easily bounce back in a competitive finale.
Rebecca Curtis has her team in good form and Legends Gold (12.15) is taken to land the opener at Bangor-on-Dee. The mare finally got her head in front at Stratford when last seen in the spring over the minimum trip, but this step back up in trip should suit with Aidan Coleman in the plate.
I am fascinated to see Beni Light (12.45) drop back to an extended two miles in the Handicap Chase having failed to stay over 3m at Worcester last time from a 2lbs lower mark. I had the selection down as one to follow in a moderate two-and-a-half-mile chase next time and I hope he has the pace for this two-mile one-and-a-half-furlong trip.
The combination of fast ground and 2m 4f was not ideal for Ballyart (1.45) on his chase debut back in the spring but I feel we may see a different horse stepped up to three miles on ground on likely to be on the soft side of good come post time.