TRUST – Who can we trust in racing? What the trainers say, what the jockeys report or in this case what the officials tell us?
The last named is going to be of paramount importance this weekend when we assess the multiple Group One races taking place in Paris and of course in particular the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Because when it comes to French officialdom it’s not that they don’t tell us the going ‘truth’, it’s more that their description doesn’t align with the UK going ‘truth’.
So on Saturday do a small bit of investigating; check the recorded times of the races and come to your own conclusion as far as the going description is concerned for the next day.
The weather forecast tells us it will be very testing ground at Longchamp on Saturday-through-Sunday
It’s a given in such circumstances that with Love withdrawn now, Enable will start favourite, Stradivarius will relish the stamina test and last year’s third Sottsass remains the forgotten horse.
And the truth: – Well Love will probably be aimed at the Breeder’s Cup Turf. Enable will handle the ground, but like last year won’t relish it, while Stradivarius will be placed at worst, but not quick enough to win…………and Sottsass, well can you truly take his trainer’s hugely optimistic words to heart especially as he patently didn’t get home 12 months ago.
The facts tell us that since the turn of the century, 12 of the 20 winners have been three-year-olds and a progressive youngster has an edge over the older brigade,
That is the direction I want to head.
And this year, it may not need a quality, hugely-progressive member of the Classic brigade to claim the honours what with the ground likely to be a massive leveller and the likely, two older horses at the top of the betting, more vulnerable. I consider this year’s Arc to be a very ordinary renewal which gives Enable an outstanding chance of landing her third of three very average victory in this autumn championship.
She has a fantastic draw in stall five, top-class tactical speed and one of the best jockeys in Frankie Dettori to ride Longchamp ever. His winning ride on Sakhee in 2001 is the best I have ever seen from a wide draw.
I think it is also worth qualifying her chance of a third Arc by saying that she has benefited from running in three average renewals, but as the saying goes, you can only beat what is put in front of you.
So back to the Classic brigade. We all know that the gambled on German Derby hero In Swoop was flattered by his fast-finishing third in the Grand Prix de Paris and there is little between him and the third home that day, Gold Trip, on that run and when beaten by that rival in the Prix Greffulhe earlier in the season.
It could be he will handle the deep going better than his old rival and undoubtedly has the better physical scope to come forward again, although it is worth noting that Gold Trip should come on a bundle for that first run since early July.
The forgotten horse in my eyes is the Epsom Derby winner SERPENTINE. He travelled like the best horse in the Grand Prix de Paris and having looked big in the paddock, it was no surprise that racing close to a hot pace, would fade in the final 300 metres.
Aidan O’Brien made no secret that the race was merely a prep for this and although deep ground poses a question mark, I am sure he would have followed Love onto the Breeder’s Cup had the Ballydoyle maestro thought that Serpentine wouldn’t handle the ground.
I also suspect that now being 100 per cent fit for this engagement, he will be ridden more mid-pack this time by Christophe Soumillon. At a likely, double-figure price the son of Galileo remains the one piece of value left in the market place.
She won the Irish 1,000 Guineas, should have won the Prix de Diane and then looked as though she was in need of the run in the Matron Stakes.
PEACEFUL’S aim was going to be the Prix de l’Opera on Sunday, but connections thought 10 furlongs on deep ground would be too much for her hence the swift re route to the Sun Chariot over a mile. The fresh Terebellum, worked well last week, looks her biggest danger.
Further forecast rain could see course specialist Raising Sands go off favourite here especially with the able Saffie Osborne taking 7lbs off his back making him look nicely treated.
But such conditions should also suit KING OTTOKAR. He travelled like the wrath of god at Doncaster before being slightly checked up at a crucial stage and a fast run seven could suit him perfectly with the only slight downside being his single figure draw.
ALPINE STAR – (Longchamp 15.50)
I make this filly the bet of the weekend now that Peaceful runs at Newmarket. She has simply been crying out for a test over a mile and a quarter and granted luck in running the daughter of Sea The Moon is made my nap of the day. ALPINE STAR could easily have been unbeaten this season and her second to Palace Pier in the Jacques Le Marois is the best piece of form on show.
Battaash / Glass Slipper (Longchamp 16.25)
We all know that Battaash and Glass Slippers are head and shoulders above this lot, but the draw here is of paramount importance. I want to be on something that is boxed between one and six so I am going to leave the selection box open to see who gets the ideal berth.
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