The first Sunday in October can mean only one thing, it is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. All eyes will be on the newly refurbished ParisLongchamp Racecourse as the Arc returns home having been run at Chantilly in 2016 and 2017. It’s a cracking card with seven Group Ones, that can be seen on Racing UK plus ITV Racing will have live coverage of some of the heats for those not making the trip across the Channel from 1pm - 3:30pm. Sadly I am here in Blightly and not trackside at Longchamp but an afternoon of beer and betting has been organised with a few of the minions from Triple G Towers.
On Tuesday it was revealed the rail which has been in use all season will be pushed out for Saturday’s races, while it will be taken away completely for Sunday, leaving a strip of fresh ground. The going is good with possible showers before racing and the 6 bets I've had follow.
Prix Marcel Boussac is the Group One for two-year-old fillies over the mile and gets the card underway at 1.20. Rocques is unbeaten in three and won the G3 Prix d'Aumale over track and trip last time. At 9-4 its hoped she gets the day off to a winning start for us.
The two-year-old colts line up facing the mile course for the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. A Group 3 winner here last month the unbeaten Anodor is odds-on and trainer Freddy Head suggested this was the target after that win. That said Saeed bin Suroor sends Royal Marine over for a run and he was a good winner for us recently. He skipped a number of engagements in the UK to run here and at 15-2 I had to get on.
2.25 is the Arab race the Qatar Arabian World Cup and I am leaving that alone.
The big race of the weekend is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe over one-and-a-half miles at 3.05; generally considered the premier all age middle distance race of the season. I jumped on Enable at 5-1 back on the 4th September prior to her victorious Kempton return on the 8th as blogged on here and I feel pretty happy with things as they stand. The draw, as ever here, was a concern betting ante-post but she has 6 and that is just fine. Evens is the best you'll get now.
The fillies and mares aged three years or older are next for the Group One Prix de l’Opera over 1m2f at 3.50. This could be a cracker. Wild Illusion Charlie Appleby's filly, who won the Prix Marcel Boussac on Arc weekend last season at Chantilly, is a bit of a favourite of mine and was fourth in the 1,000 Guineas and second in the Oaks, I tipped her for the latter. Second at Ascot in the G.2 Ribblesdale she got her Group 1 honours at Goodwood in the Nassau and Appleby said of her earlier this week "She's had a nice break since her last start at Goodwood and this was always our plan. Her preparation has gone very well and we're looking forward to seeing her run." I am on at the 3-1. Aidan O'Brien sends Magic Wand, who beat Wild Illusion at Royal Ascot and she is the biggest danger amongst the opposition along with Rhododendron naturally if she finds her form but I can't back her at the moment.
The Prix de l’Abbaye has the sprinters lining up at 4.25 and it’s no surprise that Battaash has been, and is, short for this. He can be a monkey and blotted his copybook last time, but when he’s good he’s good as when winning this last year at Chantilly. Havana Grey and Alpha Delphini deserve a second look when going through the form. I find it interesting that Soldiers Call lines-up as a 2yo and as such gets a whopping 14-18lb from Battaash and the other main protagonists. Rated 114, in theory, he is well in and was pretty impressive winning the G2 Flying Childers Stakes looking to be all about the speed; he does not hang about from the off. I had to get on at 8-1.
Prix de La Foret brings the curtain down on proceedings at 5.00. I expected Expert Eye to perhaps run here but he doesn’t. Polydream was sent off 11-8 favourite in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly only for Wild Illusion (see Prix de l’Opera) to beat her. Hopefully, that form from last season will have been franked earlier. It all went wrong in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches for the Freddy Head trained filly but she came out and won the 7f G.3 Prix du Palais-Royal here afterwards before winning the G.1 Larc Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in August. Everything looks primed for a big run at 13-8 to send jolly backers home happy.