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. The card has six Group One’s and I am involved in them all.
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 on Sunday showing the first three races and the Arabian heat. As so often happens the rain arrived and the going is described as very soft.
Best bets for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp
1.15 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere – 7f
It’s the two-year-old first up and though none of the big names are here, it’s still a decent race. The Antarctic is the obvious place to start the grey having been busy all season and chasing home at least of those big names, been behind Blackbeard on three occasions. He is a decent type but may not be quite top-class. Another Irish raider is Shartash and that colt is also shortlisted, he did beat Blackbeard in the G.2 Railway Stakes. Third in the National Stakes at the Curragh last time he didn’t seem to quite get home on soft there so isn’t for me on this going. Tigrais is the only filly in the line-up and gets the 3lb sex-allowance. She is open to improvement after just three starts, won the G3 Prix La Rochette over this course and distance four weeks ago and has form on softer going. Christopher Head, being the son of Freddy and nephew of Criquette, knows a thing or two about the game and has his string in form. Get on at 9-2.
1.50 Prix Marcel Boussac – Mile
A race for two-year-old fillies this is possibly the most competitive race of the afternoon. Kelina arrives two from two having won easily at Deauville and Chantilly and even though the daughter of Frankel is taking a big step-up in class here she has to be on any shortlist. German raider Habana won a 7f G.3 last time on soft at Baden-Baden and is considered. Wed has won three of her four starts including the G.2 7f Prix du Calvados Stakes at Deauville last time out – Never Ending Story third. She looked to me to have some left in the tank there, Cristian Demuro gave her one crack and she put the race to bed in a few strides. Being out of Eaton Street you would expect her to get the trip as the family have produced some decent mile to mile-and-a-half types down the generations. I am on at 7-2.
3.05 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe – 1m4f
Baaeed won’t be crossing the Channel but there are plenty of good’uns lining-up for Europe's richest Flat race. Luxembourg won the G.1 Irish Champion Stakes last time and is the jolly but for me is still a talking horse and has something to prove. The world and his wife seem to think he needs the 1m4f but he has to prove it yet and on the going he will need to get the trip. Vadeni was third in the Irish Champion and also needs to prove he stays. Westover won the Irish Derby, tipped on here, and is one I have put-up more than once; tipped him on his racecourse debut. The colt was hugely disappointing in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes, I tipped him again, and off the back of that effort on ground that probably won’t suit I can’t have him here. German star Torquator Tasso will bid to repeat his shock triumph of 12 months ago and the softer it gets the better his chances but stall 18 means he starts in the car-park and that does not help his chances of a repeat. Titleholder is the big hope for Japan but he will have never encountered ground like this and can’t be backed for that reason. Top-class mare Alpinsta has won five G.1s in a row all over Europe and has been aimed at this race all year. I am a huge fan and took a bit of the 6-1 ante-post a few days ago - generally around 9-2 now. She has to give the three-year-old weight but is proven over the trip and shouldn’t mind the going, has plenty of form on soft, though connections do think she is better on good ground. It is a long time since a five-year-old mare has won this, 1937 I believe, but as Prescott pointed out five-year-old mares with five group one victories to their name are few and far between as they are usually retired! Stall six is a decent draw and I think she will still be going strong when a few of these cry enough in the final furlong.
3.50 Prix de Opera – 1m2f
Nashwa is the obvious place to start in this one having won four of her six starts this year including twice at G.1 level one of those the G.1 1m2f Prix de Diane here in France before taking the G.1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood when last seen. This will be the softest ground she has encountered but she ticks a lot of boxes as a two-time G.1 winner and this being her ideal trip. I have a bit of the 11-4. La Parisienne was second in the Prix de Diane and having been balloted out of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe she looks the main hope for the home team. Tuesday has danced every dance this year as I have said before, and is top-rated officially, but her schedule may be taking its toll and she has never run on ground like this. Ryan Moore prefers Above The Curve for Jospeh O’Brien and that one is certainly a decent filly, and has winning track and trip form having won the G1 Prix Saint-Alary back in May. She won the G.2 Blandford Stakes last time after a break in her season but was hardly impressive, if she has come on for that run she is feared.
4.25 Prix de l'Abbaye - 5f
The draw on the straight track is often said to favour those drawn low so that is a consideration here. I have tipped The Platinum Queen several times this year already and she will bid to become the first two-year-old winner of this since 1978. She gets over a stone at least from the rest of the field, as she did in her courageous defeat when second in the G1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York against the older brigade. Beaten again last time, caught in the shadow of the post at Doncaster in the Flying Childers Stakes she is a very fast filly and showed at Doncaster she can go on soft ground. I am on at 3-1 for her to gain a much deserved Group One victory. Last year's winner A Case Of You also lines up, should have backed him, and is feared bur he is breaking from stall 19 this year! Flotus and Mitbaahy look perhaps the best of the three-year-olds whilst Berneuil looks the best of the home team, goes well here, but he is drawn high.
5.00 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 Kinross is here. Five of his six wins have been over seven furlongs and four of them in soft conditions. Tenebrism is one I have talked of before but wasn’t on for her sole victory of the season when she won the 7f G1 Prix Jean Prat over this trip at Deauville in July. She went in my notebook as a two-year-old and I was hoping at the time ‘the lads’ might send her across the pond for a tilt at the Breeders Cup but they didn’t. She has been in with some of the best this season and run with credit on every outing. This might just be her trip and she does have form on soft so getting 6lb as she does from the jolly she is the pick at 100-30.
Be lucky or être chanceux as they say across the Channel.