The build-up to the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is in full swing and sorry if you are bored of it already but I am on the band wagon as well; it promises to be a great weekend of horse racing. The ground is currently very soft at Longchamp following a reported 0.9mm of rain in the last 24 hours. The forecast suggests they can expect at least some rain in Paris Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday so you can be pretty confident the word firm won’t be in the going description!
I have added to the ante-post portfolio with two bets on Wednesday the first in the 5f Group One Prix de lAbbaye. Any regular reader will know it aint Battaash at 5-4; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t even run. Angus Gold, owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s racing manager, couldn’t even confirm the horse would on Tuesday saying “At the moment he runs, but if it turns into an absolute quagmire I can’t tell you – but at the moment he runs.” I am on the mudlark Make A Challenge at 7-1 each-way as he looks a fair bet to place-up end of story, will love all the rain that is about and forecast, and if the jolly does stay at home his price will shrink quicker than your silk boxers in a boil wash!
As for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe I have taken on Enable! the Prix du Moulin winner Persian King has form on heavy, won the Poule d'Essai des Poulains last year on it, but this is a step into the unknown trip wise. He was second to Sottass in the Prix du Jockey Club over 1m2½f last season only losing out close home. A slow pace and a bit of luck might see him go close. The fact Andre Fabre sends him, he knows a thing or two about winning this race, and notable connections Godolphin SNC & Ballymore Thoroughbred Ltd have no other entries, suggests those who should know think he might last home. Being by Kingman it looks unlikely at first sight of the pedigree but on the dam side he is out of Pretty Please, who got a mile-and-a-quarter on soft, and she's by 2007 Arc winner Dylan Thomas out of an unraced Giants Causeway mare so stamina is there on the distaff side. This could be a far more open-affair than the market suggests and at 22-1 in the ante-post market I have taken an each-way chance. Recently purchased to stand at Haras d'Etreham stud from next year hopefully it will be a triumphant end to his racing career.