Tag Archives: Longchamp

Preview: Prix Marcel Boussac 2018

DSC_4696

Arc day kicks off in under an hour – the opening race is one that interests me given the Aiden O’Brien trained filly Pink Dogwood is nice price in an open contest.

The favourite for the home side, Rocques has to be taken very serious after a recent Group 3 success, however is too short in the betting.

Instead Pink Dogwood offers tremendous value. This February foal has improved with each run this year and won in impressive style a couple of weeks ago at Gowran Park. She made all from the front and easily left the rest – in fairness not a particularly strong – field standing still in the closing stages.

The daughter of Camelot is stunning to look at, she clearly is quite forward and should be uncomplicated to ride in this small field, where she might be able to dictate from the front and then difficult to peg back.

Let’s hope this is a good start to the day; the cherry on the cake follows in the main event?

Selection:
10pts win – Pink Dogwood @ 4/1 PP

Advertisements

PREVIEW: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 2018

DSC_0935

It’s Enable’s race….. to lose. Can anyone stop the wonder filly? Or can she follow on from a magical Saturday where Winx thundered home to a 28th consecutive success?

The queen of European racing was so impressive twelve months ago when she landed the big one, she’s blessed with an excellent draw this Sunday – surely, she’s more than justifying her 11/10 price tag.

I’m saying that as I find it hard to see her getting beaten here. Enable has clearly shown on her reappearance at Kempton in the September Stakes that she’s hitting top form right when it’s required. As easily as she let a 129 rated Crystal Ocean look like a one paced plodder, one can’t help but be incredibly impressed.

From a betting perspective I wouldn’t want to put anyone off backing Enable. From my own perspective it’s not a price for me – so I’m looking for a bit of “Each-Way Value” in a race that appears to be pretty open if it comes to the minor placings.

Sea Of Class and Waldgeist both make appeal. Form wise they are a clear standout compared to the rest of the field – bar Enable, of course. Though, the draw is a concern, even more so for the filly who’s likely to need a lot of luck from off the pace. The French colt, on the other hand, is the biggest danger to Enable but may get rolling too late, I feel.

Leger winner Kew Gardens should be okay dropping back in trip. He’s got a fair shout, depending on the start of the race where I’d like to see him ridden positively, which might be detrimental to his chances as he’s got to deal with a wide raw also, but it could also play into his hands, making use of stamina reserves at the backend of the race. If ridden with restraint he’s got even less a chance, most likely. At given prices it’s a pass for me, anyhow.

Stable mate Capri, high class as he is on paper, is hard to fancy after his interrupted season and a rusty return to the track in the Prix Foy.

Last year’s runner-up Cloth Of Stars is an interesting individual at a big price, if quirky and hard to know what to get on the day. If he could find some sort of his best form again he can be a fair place chance. So can be defending Breeder’s Cup Turf champ Talismanic. The ground may turn against him, though.

For my selection I’ll look even further down the packing order, still. 50/1 shot Patascoy, the French Derby runner-up, is the one who appeals most to me given this massive price.

The jury is still out whether he stays the trip. This lightly raced colt hasn’t raced beyond 10.5 furlongs yet, the pedigree isn’t exactly screaming “stayer” but isn’t entirely discouraging either.

Certainly in the Derby – not an overly strong form, it has to be said – he was running hard to the line after hitting a flat spot entering the home straight. His return after a bit of a summer break in the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano Haras du Logis Saint-Germain was good – although not form you would associate good enough for an Arc winner, to be totally fair.

What I like about Patascoy is the fact he remains open for improvement after only eight career starts and in addition he is pretty straightforward, uncomplicated in the way he can be ridden – from an excellent draw, most likely tracking the pace in the Arc. That should ensure he’s in a good position when it matters most. If I trust him to stay, then he could outrun his price tag to finish in the money, in the end.

Selection:
5pts Each/Way – Patascoy @ 50/1 PP (4 places, 1/5)

Monday Selections: April, 30th 2018

DSC_1062

I got it wrong: Cracksman did that so easily in the Prix Ganay this afternoon. He certainly looked like the horse the betting suggested he is. On the other hand you have to hand it to Frankie Dettori. He gave Cracksman a peach of a ride. Tracking the pace, always in the right position.

That’s the difference between a good jockey who gets it often right and a top class jockey who is at the top of the game for decades who gets it very rarely wrong

Dettori’s judgement was stark contrast to the rather poor ride Cloth Of Stars received from Mikael Barzelona. The idea behind dropping the five year old in seemed sensible. However, you got to be flexible and be able to react to the fact that you can’t concede first run to Cracksman, or at least come from miles off the pace if you want to beat him over this trip is not rocked science (says the armchair jockey that I am).

Would a different ride have made any difference in terms of outcome of the race? Likely not. Though, we might have gotten a contest, at least.

……..

4.25 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 9.5f 

This is a really good field with the majority of these interesting moving forward this season. Clear preference is with recent Chelmsford scorer Mootasadir. He nicely bred and sets a good standard here.

He is a short price and gives weight away to some other promising individuals. Same goes for Well Suited, also a winner on the Chelmsford All-Weather. One with scope but also weight he’s conceding.

I am most interest in that context in the first son of wonderful Shirocco Star: Starcaster. He’s obviously incredibly well bred but also receives a good deal of weight from the market principles due to them already being off the mark. A further 3lb claimed by a fine apprentice in the saddle is a little bonus.

Starcaster caught the eye in his first two career starts towards the end of last season. He certainly was desperately unlucky not finish closer than a 1½ lengths beaten third at Goodwood.

Judged on those performances as well as collateral form, Starcaster, with the weight he gets, should be in with a big shout in this race. Whether he is fully wound up first time out this year remains to be seen.

Selection:
10pts win – Starcaster @ 9/2 WH

 

6.50 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

In an open contest I feel it’s worth siding with one who is likely to give his running: CD specialist Muqarred. He may well be in the grip of the handicapper, however, in a slightly less competitive contest than the ones he raced in over the winter months, given he has been eight out of eleven runs in the money over CD, even as top weight he appeals to me.

The main reason is that he has shown to be competitive of marks around his current rating off 77 – a run to this sort of mark will see him go close. The bonus that could Muqarred the edge is fine apprentice Ben Sanderson in the saddle.

The 7lb claimer has been striking a fine partnership with trainer Roger Fell lately, particularly at this venue. He is certainly worth his claim – taking that into account means Muqarred has a prime chance here.

Selection:
10pts win – Muqarred @ 6/1 PP

Sunday Selections: Prix Ganay Preview

Territories

Let me be upfront: Cloth Of Stars is a silly price in this afternoon’s Prix Garnay. I totally get why Cracksman is a hot favourite to land the Group 1 prize, and I also understand why he should be a short price to do so – however two to one on? Whereas Cloth Of Stars an unloved 7/2 shot? That’s not right.

We all have still in mind when Cracksman ran away so impressively with the Champion Stakes, smashing excellent opposition, having Poet’s Word chasing in vain seven lengths behind.

He won three on the trot in the second half of the 2017 season. He could hardly have done more. Agreed. However, it is probably fair to say his most impressive performances all came with significant cut in the ground.

Cracksman has proven to run well fresh. So that might not be a concern today. However, being fresh, on good ground, against classy- and race fit opposition with bigger targets on the horizon is a proposition that makes me think he is potentially vulnerable today.

Main threat is going to be Cloth Of Stars. Last year’s runner-up in the Arc behind Enable. He didn’t have things going for himself as a three year old, though stepped up markedly in 2017.

He won the Prix Ganay and ended the year with the excellent second place in the Arc where he got out into the clear too late in order to have a serious crack at Enable. It still was an almighty performance, given he travelled so strongly and picked up instantly once seeing daylight.

Cloth Of Stars has race fitness on his side. A prep run on the All-Weather, before he headed to Dubai for the Sheema Classic. With no pace on, the five year old colt had to sit and suffer behind leader- and eventual winner Hawkbill. Cloth Of Stars needs pace in order to settle – he didn’t get that at Meydan at all and pulled the arms off Mikael Barzelona pretty much until turning for home.

Wasting all that energy, Cloth Of Stars still finished a fine third. Back on home soil, pace will be a question once more today. He’s got a pace maker in the race – a 150/1 shot – but if that one gets ignored because virtually a hopeless chance to win, then it could still turn into a bit of a muddling affair.

Nonetheless, I feel there is not as much between Cracksman and Cloth Of Stars as the betting tries to make us believe. Both are really good Group 1 horses. Cracksman might still turn out to be the one with the bit more class. At given odds I feel comfortable backing Cloth Of Stars, regardless.

Selection:
10pts win – Cloth Of Stars @ 7/2 VC

Arc Review: Golden Horn spoils the party

Golden Horn

That’s not the result we all wanted. Record bidding wonder mare Treve beaten. A rather disappointing fourth place – it ends the career of the two-times Arc champion on a slightly sour note – given the immense hype in the build-up to the race. Her scintillating turn of foot – not there. Instead she looked a tricky ride and Thierry Jarnet never comfortable.

The French jockey has been slated in some corners for this ride on Sunday afternoon. Rightly so, to an extend at least. He wasn’t aware of the pace scenario and the fact that the quick ground can make all the difference to bring back classy contenders who are up with the speed.

On the other hand he rode Treve exactly the same way as he did when she was so utterly impressive in the 2013 Arc. With the difference that this time she didn’t make ground on the outside in the same impressive way as she did back then. She looked a tricky ride for Jarnet in the closing stages too. He could never get her organised for a big finish.

Maybe she peaked a couple of weeks too early? Remember her stunning performance in the Prix Vermeille weeks before. Maybe it was the ground though. On the quick side of good, which seemed to inconvenience her in the past, seemingly didn’t suit on Sunday yet again.

But: she remains a two time Arc winner. A fantastic mare, one we’ll remember for a long time. An all-time great? Who knows. Let’s put away with this rubbish of comparing horses from different generations with the purpose to establish who is great and who isn’t. Treve has been a brilliant race horse. That is what matters and that is the way we shall remember her.

What a brilliant ride by Frankie, wasn’t it? He may not be quite as strong in the saddle as he used to be 15 years ago, but his brain works as well as ever. It was pure genius to mitigate the obvious disadvantages of Golden Horn’s wide draw; moving forward right away, on the far outside of the field. He avoided any hassle, kept the colt relaxed, got right to the top of the field without any problems and only seconds after the race started Golden Horn was suddenly in the best possible position.

The fast ground clearly helped him to float over the grass easily and effortless. The pace was good, kept him at ease, interested, but wasn’t too quick either. We know Golden Horn stays, and after the first quarter of the race I said to myself: he’ll be hard to peg back once he kicks on in the home straight. That’s exactly what happened.

The conditions clearly helped Golden Horn but it also helps if you’re the best horse in the race, I guess.

Credit where credit is due: John Gosden has done a phenomenal job with Golden Horn. He kept him well and fit throughout the season, campaigned him bravely and didn’t duck away from challenges. Now a Derby, Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and Arc winner – Golden Horn deserves the tag of a superstar. Next stop Breeders Cup?

Sunday Selections: Queen’s Jewel Ready To Bounce Back!

DSC_4730

1.35 Longchamp: Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Group 1) 

I stick to Herald The Dawn – was keen on him in the National Stakes when the ground turned soft though, which is not ideal. He finished a decent second behind classy Air Force Blue nonetheless. To an extend he followed up on his gutsy Futurity Stakes success, where he overcame softish conditions.

But the full-brother to Dawn Approach is a top of the ground horse as Jim Bolger pointed out, so today’s conditions at Longchamp do very much favour him. If he is as classy as his trainer says he is, he’ll be a big runner. With the benefit of the doubt, I give him this chance here.

Herald The Dawn @ 9/2 Betfred – 5pts Win

————-

2.10 Longchamp: Prix de l’Opera (Group 1) 

Queen’s Jewel was a very short favourite to land the Diane earlier this year. She seemingly had problems that day, though, reportedly bleeding, that you can easily forgive her the poor showing there. The filly is much better judged on her utterly impressive display in the Saint-Alary, when she overcame greenness as well as a wide passage.

The Freddy Head inmate looked special that day, which was the reason for her short odds in the French Oaks. Her break since then may be a blessing in disguise, given that she arrives as a fresh horse here. Still lightly raced, you would assume there is more to come from here.

Queen’s Jewel @ 13/2 VC – 5pts Win

————-

3.45 Tipperary: Istabraq Hurdle (Grade 2)

This should be a battle between the two Tony Martin inmates Thomas Edison and Ted Vale. The latter one finished an excellent third in the Galway hurdle, while having been caught a bit too far off the pace and in slight in-running trouble at a crucial time turning for home. He travelled strongly, though, coming with a big challenge jumping the last, when his stable mate Thomas Edision, equally looking to win the race, fell and hampered Ted Vale.

On that form, both horses are closely matched, although Thomas Edision stands better in the weights today, and potentially has a bit more room for improvement, while we basically know what Ted Vale is. However given the discrepancy in price, it is easy for me to go with Ted Vale here.

Ted Vale @ 3/1 Bet365 – 10pts Win

ARC Preview: All to lose for Treve…?

DSC_5312

Treve bids for a historic third Arc – yes, that’s a third one….. on the bounce! But you probably know that already. Anyway; she’s going to win? Possibly. The wonder mare is hard to oppose. Her form stands up to all scrutiny. She was utterly impressive in her prep. She has a fair draw. Only in-running trouble can spoil the party. Or the ground? Maybe. It’s slightly quicker than ideal for her.

So, what to make of the race? Treve is going to win if all goes to plan. However every horse has only a certain chance by percentage after all and with the favourite over-bet, there is value elsewhere to find.

Tapestry: A super filly. Now four years old, she returned from an almost year long absence last month at the Curragh where she finished an excellent runner-up behind smart Ribbons in the Group 2 Blandford Stakes. She was beaten for speed but fought gamely. She’ll be better over the 1m 4f Arc trip.

The Ballydoyle filly was second in last years Irish Oaks but made no mistakes when lowering the colours of supper filly Taghrooda in the Yorkshire Oaks. A long, hard season was telling, though, when she finished down the field in the 2014 Arc.

I expect her to improve big time for her comeback run, which in itself was a strong performance. But fitness wise she’ll be better today, and she’ll certainty enjoy the sound surface- the good draw is a bonus. Tapestry is a smart, genuine filly, not the likeliest winner, of course, but has plenty of good things on her side, so at 40/1 I have to say she is more likely to outrun her price tag than not.

Erupt: A three year old colt with strong course and distance form; he is the reigning champ of the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris….. and you get 25’s? WOW! I guess he was an even bigger price earlier this week, nonetheless, this us huge, considering that this price tag is seemingly based on a poor showing in the Prix Niel.

Okay, he was easily beaten by New Bay that day, but the ground was very soft. It’s a different scenario today. The good ground will surely make all the difference to Erupt’s performance and with a perfect draw in 4 he’s very likely to find himself in an excellent position when the field turns for home.

Once he hits top gear, he can be difficult to peg back. He may not have shown his absolute best yet, either. There is a possibility for him improving, again. That says I’m pretty confident to see him finish at least in the top five.

What else? Well, Golden Horn, of course! The Derby and Irish Champion Stakes winner is an intriguing contender. Personally I’m worried about the draw. He’ll have to be extra special to overcome it and to beat Treve.

French Derby winner New Bay is touted to be the biggest danger for Treve. But is he? The fast ground is a clear question mark in my eyes. He has a super draw, though. I do look forward to see whether he can translate his excellent form and talent to this different surface. No excuses being drawn in five, that’s for sure. But honestly, I wouldn’t bet on it.

Summery: Treve will win. I want to see her doing it. Make history, love. I don’t think the ground is too much of an inconvenience. She’ll be fine. If she gets a clear passage, she’s pulverizing this field. If not, well, then I hope quite selfishly, one of my two fancies can sneak in.

Erupt @ 25/1 Betfred – 5pts Win 
Tapestry @ 40/1 Racebets – 5pts Win