The brilliant mare Enable will bid to win, arguably, the greatest flat race in the world the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for an unprecedented third time at Paris-Longchamp this afternoon but, at 4/6 with BetVictor, I shall be looking for an each way alternative although she is, undeniably, the best horse in the race.
Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath – 12s with BetVictor – looks sure to ensure there is an end-to-end gallop which should suit the favourite but also Aidan O’Brien’s Japan and the Andre Fabre-trained five-year-old Waldgeist (3.05) who at 16/1 gets the each way vote.
Andre Fabre’s 5-y-old finished 2L behind Enable in the King George at Ascot in the summer having met trouble in running at the top-of-the straight. The sectional times showed Waldgeist’s last furlong was quicker than both winner Enable and runner up Crystal Ocean, and he should have today’s race run to suit. Drawn in stall three and with a decent pace, seemingly, guaranteed I hope he can swoop fast and late under Pierre-Charles Boudot for Andre Fabre who is bidding for a record-breaking eighth success in the race.
In the opener at Longchamp on Saturday I hope to see Line Of Duty (12.30) get his head in front dropped slightly in class having finished third in his last couple of starts in Group 1 company for Charlie Appleby. Today’s race represents his best opportunity to add to the Grade 1 Juvenile he won at the Breeders’ Cup last year.
Shaman finished second in the French Guineas earlier in the year, but he has a bit to find with Olmedo (1.35) on recent C&D running and I hope last year’s French Guineas winner can return to his very best form. Three of his four rivals won last time out but the 4-y-old – 13/8 at BetVictor – is taken to return to winning ways.
Put a line through the finishing position of Oaks winner Anapurna in the Prix Vermeille last time given she met trouble in running, but Munis Amica (3.25) shaped as though she would relish the step up to 1m 6f when runner up behind Star Catcher in the same prep race on Trials day. She can improve again stepped up in trip by an extra quarter of a mile this afternoon. The filly finished runner up in the French Guineas last year and is taken to improve past Gosden’s Enbihaar who has won her last three at Group 2 level this term. The selection is 5/1 at BetVictor.
Moonlight Spirit (4.00) has a bit to find with Dashing Willoughby on Royal Ascot form but the Godolphin runner was inconvenienced by the slow pace on that occasion and I expect William Buick to ensure there is a decent gallop today. The Dubawi colt is 7/2 at BetVictor and looks open to significant improvement after just six career starts.
Gold Cup runner up Dee Ex Bee looks the one to beat in the Prix Du Cadran but the hope is that the Mark Johnston-trained 4-y-old makes it a thorough test of stamina which will suit Cleonte (4.35) who gets the each way vote at 12/1 with BetVictor. Andrew Balding’s 6-year-old may have to make much of his own running under Jim Crowley, but he was beaten less than 2L in the Doncaster Cup by the great Stradivarius last time and could be overpriced.
This is the time of the year when there appears to be a valuable 7f Handicap at Ascot every week for some reason unbeknown to me. The lightly-raced Casanova (3.10) gets the each way vote at 8/1 with BetVictor in the hope that the drop back in trip will not inconvenience John Gosden’s three-year-old. Andrea Atzeni takes the ride with Dettori in Paris and Rab Havlin at Newmarket.
In the Bengough Stakes I hope to see Tabdeed (3.40) confirm the promise of his Doncaster reappearance. That was his fourth win in 5 careers starts and he can take the step up to Group 2 class in his stride for Owen Burrows.
The Gp 1 Sun Chariot Stakes is the Newmarket feature and I hope to see Iridessa (3.25) confirm Matron Stakes form with Hermosa and Laurens for Joseph O’Brien with brother Donnacha in the saddle. The filly pounced late at Leopardstown last time and she should again have the race run to suit. She is 4/1 at BetVictor.
Never Alone (2.50) can make it third time lucky for connections in the 1m Novice event at HQ having been mugged close home at Sandown last time. PJ McDonald takes the ride for Charlie Appleby and it promises to be a most informative juvenile contest.
The lightly-raced Strelka (4.35) is the half-sister to Derby/Arc winner Workforce and she is taken to defy her opening mark of 81 in the valuable fillies’ mile-and-a-half-handicap. The contest has been won by the classic generation for the last couple of years and I take the filly to get Arc weekend off to a flyer for Prince Khalid Abdullah.
On Sunday, the first of six Group 1 contests on the card is the Prix Marcel Boussac over a mile for two-year-old fillies. With the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile taking place on Friday at Newmarket the British challenge is non-existent although Jessica Harrington saddles Albigna for Ireland. The latter is 9/4 at BetVictor but she finished a modest sixth in the Moyglare at the Curragh last time and it will be disappointing if the French did not keep the prize on home soil.
Fifty-year-old Japanese sporting legend Yutaka Take takes over in the saddle on the Japanese owned Savarin (1.15) and the Andre Fabre-trained filly is taken to maintain her unbeaten record. A daughter of Deep Impact the selection – 9/4 with BetVictor – scored over C&D in Group 2 company last time, has a decent draw in stall four and is taken to beat stablemate Bionic Woman.
All bar one of the seven colts – again no British representatives – who contest the Jean Luc Lagadere won last time out the exception being Aidan O’Brien’s Armory who finished 9l behind the brilliant Pinatubo in the National Stakes at the Curragh last time. A big run from the Ballydoyle representative would further enhance the claims of Pinatubo for next weekend’s Dewhurst Stakes and next spring’s 2000 Guineas for which he is currently priced at Evens with BetVictor.
Godolphin own Pinatubo, last weekend’s Middle Park winner Earthlight and also Victor Ludorum (1.50) who has also won both starts so far this term and can take this step up in class in his stride. It may not have been much of a race that the selection won last time, but he showed a terrific turn of foot to come from last to first in the manner of a class act. The colt is 11/8 at BetVictor.
I didn’t think Frankie Dettori gave Mehdaayih (3.55) a particularly good ride in the Nassau Stakes last time but I hope the filly – 15/8 at BetVictor – returns to winning ways in the Prix l’Opera given she has a good draw in stall three. Coronation Stakes winner Watch Me steps up to 10f for the first time this afternoon, but a bigger danger might be the selection’s lightly-raced stablemate Terebellum who would relish any significant rain.
Battash (4.30) cannot be opposed in the Prix l’Abbeye after the brilliance of his win in the Nunthorpe at York in August but do note he disappointed in this race 12 months ago and his scintillating win in this corresponding race in 2017 was gained at Chantilly and not Longchamp.
I am a massive fan of City Lamp (5.05) and will be disappointed if he does not take the finale – 5/2 at BetVictor – having shown improved form for the step up to 7f in recent starts. Glorious Journey looks overpriced at 12/1 for Charlie Appleby and William Buick but the French five-year-old was a facile winner over C&D last time although he wouldn’t want the ground to get too testing.