An outstanding weekend of racing just keeps getting better with a Group 1 double header at ParisLongchamp on ‘Arc Trials Weekend’.
Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, all the big guns have managed to figure out the logistics and have turned up to have a crack at the phenomenal prize-money on offer and I, for one, will be in attendance.
Stradivarius is the star of the show on Sunday’s fantastic card as things turn serious on the run up to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
At six years of age it is incredible to think that STRADIVARIUS has never set a foot on a French racecourse, especially when one examines his trainer John Gosden’s glittering record with his ‘voyageurs’.
The French racing public have now been given the chance to catch a glimpse of one of the toughest horses in training as he lines up as hot favourite for the Prix Foy.
Having produced two breathtaking performances to take Group Ones at both Ascot and Goodwood during the summer, this looks like Stradivarius’ easiest assignment for some time and in my opinion the only slight query, the distance (12F), stands in the way of a third consecutive win of the season for Gosden’s superstar.
With races run at a notoriously steady pace I am sure that Frankie Dettori will waste no time in letting Stradivarius bowl along in front over this 12-furlong trip (he was beaten over the same distance on seasonal debut) should he need to.
Anthony Van Dyck got the better of Stradivarius earlier on in the season, but may struggle to keep tabs on the six-year-old now that he is 100% fit, while Way to Paris, who has been in spectacular form throughout the year would be well suited should this develop into a sprint.
I would be incredibly disappointed and shocked should Stradivarius get turned over here and hopefully John Godsen will let him return for a tilt at the Arc in October.
Although he was found out amongst his elders on his most recent outing during the summer, EARTHLIGHT still remains very exciting and should get back to winning ways as he takes another small step up the distance ladder in the Prix de Pin.
The prodigy of master trainer Andre Fabre (unsuccessful in this race since 2009 having previously a strong record in the race) once again encounters some more experienced and aged rivals here, but nothing near the calibre of animal he faced in the Group One Maurice de Gheest where he finished a solid fourth.
Jockey Mickael Barzalona retains the partnership as Earthlight encounters the swoops and climbs of ParisLongchamp for the first time in his short career.
This year’s race looks a lot stronger than some recent renewals on paper and a strong pace is to be expected, which may not suit Earthlight who will need to stay every inch of the seven furlong trip to take gold here.
I say it on a regular basis in this column and I will say it again, trainer Francis-Henri Graffard really is one of the best in France and every runner of his merits the upmost of respect.
In my opinion, it is no surprise to see Graffard’s IN SWOOP declared in the field for the Group One Grand Prix de Paris this weekend, I think he has a great chance and should certainly ruffle the feathers of some of the market principals.
On his most recent and only third career start In Swoop took the German Derby in supreme style, slicing through the field with great strength throughout the final few furlongs.
With the likelihood of a strong pace with both Serpentine and Port Guillaume in the line-up, a strong closing charge is likely and if In Swoop (who is the most inexperienced horse in the field) can produce a similar effort to Cologne, I am sure he should run a decent race under his excellent and hugely underpraised rider Ronan Thomas.
Tips for Sunday’s racing at ParisLongchamp
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