It’s a mega Sunday of action with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (15.05) taking centre-stage in Paris. So it’s quite right to have a bonus Matt Chapman International blog!
The ITV coverage starts at 13.15 with the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac for juvenile fillies over 1m. I’m not a huge fan of Yutake Take at Longchamp, but he must have every chance of scoring on the Andre Fabre-trained SAVARIN, who beat a few of these over the course and distance in a Group 3 last time. The daughter of Deep Impact has every chance of maintaining an unbeaten record.
A big danger is likely to be Alibigna, who flopped at the Curragh last time, but looked pretty decent for Jessica Harrington in two previous efforts.
Next up is the Colts’ equivalent (fillies also allowed) in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere over 1m at 13.50.
I’m with Fabre again here and another unbeaten horse in VICTOR LUDORUM. The Godolphin-owned colt only took a conditions event last time but is two out of two and looks very classy.
Armory runs for Aidan O’Brien, and tries to boost the Pinatubo form after being thrashed in the National Strakes at the Curragh when last seen. Unbeaten Ecrivain also looks promising.
The big one, the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, over 1m 4f at 15.05.
There is no doubt that Enable is the most likely winner of the Arc, and I would not put any of you off going in at a short price. My each-way bet would be WALDGEIST even though he is exposed as inferior to Enable. He occasionally shows glimmers of brilliance.
Enable has already made history by becoming the first Arc winner to go on and land a Breeders’ Cup race in the same season. And some pretty huge names have failed in that category, none more so than the awesome Dancing Brave in 1986.
With a current rating of 128, Enable is the best horse on planet earth, even though youngster Pinatubo has been given a similar mark by those who rank our racing superstars. The daughter of Nathaniel faces 11 rivals at Longchamp, including Ghaiyyath, who is on a mark of 126, so not a million miles away. That said, it’s probably safe to presume that Enable is better than her official grading.
Ghaiyyath is improving fast for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, and was simply brilliant when landing a Group 1 in Germany last time by 14 lengths. However, I’m not sure I believe that performance.
Japan runs for Aidan O’Brien but I’m not convinced about the form of his Juddmonte International success, with third Elarqam and fourth King of Comedy have been stuffed since York.
I’m pretty sure now retired Crystal Ocean was below his best as the runner-up that day. Ballydoyle’s Magical is back for more, but she always gets beat by Enable despite being an admirable performer.
Sottsass looked very decent in the Prix du Jockey Club, and is the apple of Jean-Claude Rouget’s eye. However, although denied a clear run – his trial success was far from scintillating.
All in all, Enable should take all the beating if she is anywhere near her best.
Of course the Longchamp card is not all about Enable, as it also features the batmobile that is BATTAASH, the most exciting sprinter to have been trained in the UK for many years.
Battaash bids for a second Prix de l’Abbaye at 16.30 and we should all cheer him home, not only because he’s easily the most talented sprinter around, but also because I’d love to see him in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.
Let’s hope for some French-style Yeeehaaas at Longchamp. You hear me Paddy?
*Prices correct at time of publication