It being the first Sunday in October this weekend that can only mean one thing, it is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. Some of the best racehorses in the world will be on show at Longchamp on Sunday and it’s a cracking afternoon of horseracing with six Group One’s and I am involved in them all. Unusually for Arc weekend the going has been a talking point due to the fact there was every chance we might get fairly fast ground with the good weather they have been having in Paris this week. The going is officially good.
For those of us here in the UK Sky Sports Racing have full coverage of the card whilst ITV Racing will be on air from 1pm–4.15pm on Sunday showing five of the races.
Best bets for the horseracing at Longchamp
1.15 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere - 7f
It’s the two-year-old’s first up and we have some potentially very nice ones in this. Beauvatier, Unquestionable, Ballymount Boy, Zabiari, Rosallion and Native American are all shortlisted.
Beauvatier won the G.3
Prix la Rochette as his warm-up and has looked a colt to follow in his unbeaten career thus far. I think the colt can take the first for the home team and have a bit of the 2-1. Unquestionable clearly has talent and can chase the selection home along with Rosallion.
1.50 Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac - Criterium des Pouliches - Mile
A selection of decent filly juveniles line-up here. Opera Singer won the G.3 Newtownanner Stud Irish European Breeders Fund Stakes impressively and a similar effort here would see her go very close. Her two wins have been at this trip I am on at 9-4. Darnation is feared most but possibly would have wanted it softer.
3.05 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe - 1m4f
I tipped Alpinista at 6-1 to win last year and I am fairly confident I have found the winner again this year……..Trainer Tomohito Ozeki sends Through Seven Seas over from Japan and there will be plenty of Yen wagered on her no doubt but I think the wait for a Japanese winner will go on for yet another year. Bay Bridge deserves to be here but I simply can’t see him winning an Arc. Free Wind will be popular with a certain Frankie Dettori in the saddle, and she was perhaps unlucky not to win the G.1 Yorkshire Oaks. A decent draw in three helps her chances and with six victories Dettori is the most successful jockey in Arc history so she isn’t without hope; I just can’t see her breaking her Group One duck in the Arc! Winner of the 1m4f G.1 Idee 154th Deutsches Derby, Fantastic Moon, who won the 1m4f G.1 Prix Niel on his last start in August, was added to the Arc field at a cost of €120,000 at Wednesday's supplementary stage. Trainer Sarah Steinberg said "We thought long and hard about which of the races would be the best for Fantastic Moon and together with the owners, we decided against a long trip to the US or Japan for Fantastic Moon this year. We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather in Paris. There is the dried-up turf at Longchamp and the horse has recovered very quickly after his last race. A trip to the Breeders' Cup at the beginning of November or travelling to Japan at the end of November would place an enormous burden on a three-year-old and we do not want to expose Fantastic Moon to that." He certainly has an each-way chance. Also supplemented into the race on Wednesday was Continuous. I backed the colt in the G.1 1m2f Prix du Jockey Club and it is clear now he wanted more of a test having won the Great Voltigeur Stakes and the St Leger since! Therein is the problem for the Ballydoyle runner, he will likely find himself tapped for toe up the run-in and looks set for a good performance but a place at best. Feed The Flame couldn’t get to Fantastic Moon in the Qatar Prix Niel and was even further away from Ace Impact in the G.1 Qatar Prix du Jockey Club. His running style of waiting right out the back probably isn’t the best idea in a big field Arc so being drawn in two it will be fascinating to see what Christophe Soumillon does on the gates. Westover is tough as old boots and won’t lose for a lack of effort. Hukum is as tough as they come and is unlikely to get beaten for lack of effort as he showed when outbattling Westover is the 1m4f G.1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot. He beat last year's Derby winner Desert Crown in the 1m2f G.3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes before that and arrives unbeaten this year. He has to be shortlisted but I think he is likely to find at least one too good this afternoon and being drawn 14 of 15 runners aint helped his cause. I read a stat the other day that apparently since the Prix du Jockey Club was reduced in distance to 1m2f in 2005 no winner has won that and gone on to win the Arc later that year. I then read another statistic that no winner of the Arc was having its first run over 1m4f since Saumarez in 1990; both of these stats should be blown apart on Sunday afternoon. Ace Impact arrives unbeaten and I for one was very impressed with his victory in the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club and he looks a class act to me. The colt didn’t just chase down Big Rock from a long way behind, he went past the entire field as if they were handicappers and he didn’t appear to be stopping at the line. I know it is his first try over the trip but I have seen nothing to suggest he won’t stay. The unseasonable weather in Paris means we will have faster ground than usual for the Arc and that can only be seen as a positive for his chances as well. Getting the weight he does from Hukum, Westover and the rest of the older horses I honestly thought he would be shorter than he is, plus stall 8 is fair giving Cristian Demuro in the saddle options as to where to put his mount. I am on at 11-4
3.50 Prix de l'Opera Longines - 1m2f
Blue Rose Cen is one I have tipped already this season. You can forget her run at Goodwood in the G.1 1m2f Nassau Stakes as she was given a terrible ride and she simply didn’t get the trip in the 1m4f G.1 Qatar Prix Vermeille last time. This is her sort of trip trip as she showed when comfortably taking the 1m2½ f G.1 Prix de Diane Longines back in the summer at Chantilly; having taken the G.1 Emirates Poule d'Essai des Pouliches over the mile here before that in May. I am on her again here at 3-1 to get back to winning ways. Lumiere Rock will be on the premises and has the chance of picking-up some nice prizemoney.
4.25 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp Longines - 5f
Highfield Princess is a three-time Group One winner but it’s been a case of so near but so far this year with just one victory to her name in the G.2 Qatar Stakes with four placed finishes. Only fifth in the G.1 Dubai Flying Five Stakes last time she will likely be in the shake-up but may have to settle for minor honours again. Art Power will insure they aren't hanging about but is still to gain that first G.1 victory and a place looks his best hope. Moss Tucker blew the start in this last year but providing he breaks on terms today I think he can go close off the back of winning the G.1 Dubai Flying Five Stakes last time. Dirty Dozen member Dramatised runs and can be backed each-way 5-places at 20-1. She kicked her season off wining the G.2 Temple Stakes and has perhaps been unlucky with the draw in her other two starts. This looks an open affair and she can certainly place-up.
5.00 Qatar Prix de la Foret - 7f
With no seven-furlong Group One in Britain this is often targeted by the intermediate distance specialists and it is no surprise to see Kinross here and that he heads the market. Ralph Beckett’s six-year-old broke through at the top level with victory in this race 12 months ago and is 2 from 2 over the trip recently having won the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood before taking the City Of York Stakes last time out; his chance is an obvious one. Last years 1,000 Guineas winner Cachet runs for just the second time this year following a recent run in a G.3 at Doncaster. She tired late on there, perhaps not surprisingly after over a year off and will strip fitter here. King Gold won the G.1 Arc Prix Maurice de Gheest last time and appears to be thriving. He has track and trip form and appears to be in the form of his life. I can't tip Kinross at odds-on so I've backed the French six-year-old each-way 4-places at 12-1.Be lucky