It is a top-class undercard at Longchamp on Sunday supporting the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and I will be getting involved in five of the supporting races.
They get underway at Longchamp at 1.15 with the Group One Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac for two-year-old fillies over the mile. Godolphin owned Andre Fabre trained Bionic Woman arrives with just a maiden win to her name over 7f but I was impressed with that win. Having finished second on debut she improved for that experience to win at Saint-Cloud where she kicked clear of the field when asked to quicken inside final furlong leaving the field trailing to be well in command the last half-furlong. She is worth a punt at 11-2.
At 1.50 the two-year-old colts line up facing the mile course for the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. Another Godolphin one trained by Andre Fabre Victor Ludorum has been heading the market in the build-up having won his first two starts, both over a mile. He won with no more than hands and heels encouragement on his debut here at Longchamp and then won well at Chantilly with I think a bit up his sleeve. You’d expect improvement again, has the perfect profile to follow in the footsteps of sire Shamardal who of course was a Group 1 winner as a two-year-old, and I am on at 13-8. Armory is the obvious danger.
I will be
leaving the Group One Qatar Arabian World Cup at 2.25 alone.
The fillies and mares aged three years or older line-up at 3.55 for the Group One Prix de l’Opera over 1m2f. Mehdaayih takes her place here and has to be on the shortlist but I think she is vulnerable and too short a price anyway over this side of the Channel. Stablemate Terebellum arrives two from three having won the G.2 Shadwell Prix de la Nonette over 1m2f at Deauville on the soft last time comfortably. She blotted her copybook when beaten at Newbury on her second start but is the one open to improvement. Fourth in this last year behind Wild Illusion With You is back again and she is one that won’t mind all the rain that has been around one bit. She has finished second to Laurens and Coronet on her last two starts and will surely go close in this. She has to give the Gosden pair a bit of weight but I think she can with conditions to suit and have the 7-1.
It’s the speedsters for the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye Longines at 4.30 with Battaash odds-on. I wrote him off last year when fourth in this, and I know Battaash has been bettered behaved his last two starts, but I still cannot trust him and certainly not at odds-on! Mabs Cross is back to defend her crown having led close home under Gerald Mosse last year. She hasn’t seemed as well this year with just the one G/3 win to her name. I backed Soldiers Call last year as a 2yo getting a bundle of weight and he went down fighting to finish third beaten a neck. I will be having a little each-way punt on him again this year at 12-1. He was the only one that could live with the jolly, albeit briefly, at York and I think he can do the same again at the very least and if Battaash blows up he will be there to pick up the pieces.
At 5.05 they line-up for the Group One Qatar Prix de la Foret over seven with a few familiar faces to choose from here. Space Blues was on my mind for this but has not travelled. City Light will be jolly having won the G.3 Prix du Pin over track and trip last time with ease but the 5yo has yet to win at the top table and I think is vulnerable. Sir Dancealot will run his race but would prefer is firmer underfoot surely. The ultra-consistent mare and last years winner One Master gets a little bit of weight from her main rivals and she has winning form on softer going albeit back in 2017 and at a lower level than this. I think the William Haggas trained mare can get a well-deserved first win of the campaign in this to retain her crown and I took a bit of the 13-2 that Paddy Power were offering on Thursday about her doing so.
The lucky last is the Qatar Grand Handicap des Flyers but by this time, all being well, I shall be feet up counting my winnings.