God Save the King is blasting out in Paris!
Here’s the full story on a great Arc result for the sport
La Parisienne 4/1
Above The Curve 5/1
My Astra 10/1
25/1 bar (16 runners)
A high-quality renewal of this 10-furlong contest for fillies and mares, with both Tuesday, the Oaks winner in June, and Nashwa, who took the French equivalent just 16 days after running third at Epsom, both in the field, along with Joseph O’Brien’s fast-improving Above The Curve and locally-trained La Parisienne, who was less than a length behind Nashwa at Chantilly in June. La Parisienne also looked a little unlucky in the Prix Vermeille on Arc Trials day here three weeks ago, when she finished best of all after struggling for running room inside the final quarter-mile, and makes a fair bit of appeal at around 7-2 to reverse the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) form with Nashwa.
Selection: La Parisienne.
1 Alpinista 7-2fav
2 Vadeni 9-1
3 Torquator Tasso 7-1
Alpinista is the new favourite at 7-2 as the horses are readied for the Arc de Triomphe! And they’re off … Titleholder has the lead as they exit the stalls … Deep Bond is up there for Japan as is Broome … Alipinista is fifth in the early stages … this is going to be some test given how fast they have started and the very soft conditions … looks muddy already and Broome is under pressure … Alpinista travels well in second and Vadeni is coming strongly … Alpinista is brave and wins the Arc for Sir Mark Prescott. A magnificent result.
Pouring down in Paris!
Torquator Tasso 8/1
Al Hakeem 12/1
25/1Bar (20 runners)
Blue Rose Cen was an impressive winner of the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp. Trained by Christopher Head and ridden by Aurelien Lemaitre, the Group One event for juvenile fillies was run at a decent clip for the testing conditions at the Paris track, and having travelled powerfully in third early on in the two-turn event, she shot clear at the cutaway.
Jim Bolger’s Gan Teorainn ran a huge race to stay on nicely to grab second, despite having no chance with the winner. Aidan O’Brien’s Never Ending Story, who had suffered trouble in running when fourth in the Moyglare, again did not have the best of luck, with Ryan Moore having to extract the filly from a pocket before making her challenge. She quickened nicely when seeing daylight, but having looked set for second, was eventually pipped and settled for third. PA Media
The showpiece event of the European campaign on the Flat and a race that, unlike several recent renewals, does revolve around a short-priced favourite. This is as open an Arc as any I can recall over the last dozen or so years, according to both the betting and the official ratings, and the extended lull between the Marcel Boussac and the Arc itself is the ideal time to weigh up the form. The Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September is possibly the best place to start, as Luxembourg, the narrow favourite for the Arc, notched his first Group One win as a three-year-old and edged out another of today’s big contenders, Onesto, in the process, with Vadeni back in third.
Precisely how the market can look at this form and make Luxembourg a 9-2 shot today while Onesto is out at 11-1 is beyond me, as Aidan O’Brien’s runner is unproven at the trip while Fabrice Chappet’s colt has a Group One win over the Arc course and distance in July’s Grand Prix de Paris to his name. He stayed on really well there to run down Simca Mille and the runner-up landed the Group Two Prix Niel next time out.
Other leading contenders include Japan’s big hope Titleholder, a Grade One winner at Hanshin on his most recent start in June; Vadeni, with“Elbowgate” jockey Christophe Soumillon in the saddle, bidding to add the Arc to the French Derby and Eclipse, in which Mishriff was a luckless second; and the hugely popular Alpinista, bidding to take her winning streak to eight races after a comfortable win in the Yorkshire Oaks in August. The French Derby also includes Al Hakeem, a subsequent Group Two winner at Deauville, back in fourth, while Do Deuce, this year’s Japanese Derby winner, is my idea of an interesting each-way chance at around 25-1. My guess would be that he was not even 50pc fit for his run in the Prix Niel, and that Yutaka Take’s mount will find plenty of improvement for the experience.
Selection: Onesto. Each-way: Do Deuce.
1 Blue Rose Cen 9-2
2 Gran Teorainn 40-1
3 Never Ending Story 6-1
And they’re off … Ardent makes a fast start but it’s Shalromy who is just ahead in the early stages … Blue Rose Cen is in third … Habana is short of room on the rails and Wed is struggling at the back … Blue Rose Cen kicks clear and has won this easily.
Belbek stayed on stoutly under a well-timed ride from Mickael Barzalona to narrowly take the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp. The Andre Fabre-trained colt was always near the front rank in the seven-furlong Group One contest and sat just off the pace, set by Vicious Harry.
Barzalona, winning the race for a fourth time, made his move aboard Belbek inside the final furlong and out-stayed Gamestop, who had hit the front 200 yards from the winning post. Breizh Sky finished off well in third, with the Johnny Murtagh-trained Shartash failing to pick up sufficiently in the ground, finishing fourth.
“He failed to settle in his first race but he is a good-looking, well-bred horse.” said Fabre.
“Let’s see how he is, but I might take him to the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster. If he ran again it could be there. The Breeders’ Cup [for which he qualified by winning] would not be my favoured option.”
Paddy Power have introduced Belbek as a 12-1 chance for the Doncaster Group One on October 22. PA Media
Andre Fabre rocking up in Yorkshire after victory in the opener? Like that prospect…
Never Ending Story 5/1
Blue Rose Cen 7/1
Aspen Grove 20/1
22-1 bar (12 runners)
A dozen juvenile fillies are due to go to post for a very open renewal of this Group One, in which five runners are currently priced up between 4-1 and 7-1 by the British books. That reflects the fact that all but two are stepping up from minor Pattern company to make their debut at Group One level, the exceptions being Never Ending Story and Gan Teorainn, fourth and seventh respectively in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh on 11 September.
Neither could hold a candle to Tahiyra there, but Never Ending Story was value for a bit more than the bare form, having taken a bump around a furlong out. Wed, trained by Maurizio Guarnieri, is the form horse among the locally-trained runners, having shown significant improvement to land the Group Two Prix du Calvados at Deauville in August, with Never Ending Story back in third, while the unbeaten Kelina, who has yet to contest a Group race, is also attracting support along with German-trained Habana, a Group Three winner at Baden Baden last time out. Britain’s challenge is led by John Quinn’s Breege, a length behind Fairy Cross in the Prestige Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
And they’re off … Tigrais slipped as the stalls opened! Vicious Harry leads in the early stages … Pivotal Trigger is prominent … Tigrais is being pushed along and Gamestop takes it up but Belbek comes late to win for the master trainer Andre Fabre.
It’s started precipitating down at Longchamp!
Sir Mark Prescott, who trains Alpinista, has just arrived at the track.His runners is now joint-favourite for the Arc, and he told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s been 21 years since I’ve been here. I’m just going to go and have a look around and walk the track. Whatever happens I’m going to enjoy the day. I think every race she has run for the last two years she has improved a little bit. Quicker ground would have suited me better but she’ll run and she’ll do here best.”
Vadeni has just arrived. He has no idea the stink he’ll cause if he wins the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe!
Breizh Sky 19/2
Pivotal Trigger 8/1
Vicious Harry 33/1
The first of six consecutive Group One races on the card – if you don’t count the event for pure-bred Arabians at 3.25 – is France’s most prestigious contest for juvenile colts, over seven furlongs, and there is news of a late non-runner here as Aidan O’Brien’s The Antarctic – expected to start favourite – was scratched at around 11.30am BST. That is bitterly disappointing news for O’Brien and Ryan Moore – he was the stable’s only declared runner – and also robs form students of an early test of the Middle Park form, as The Antarctic was two lengths behind Blackbeard in the Newmarket Group One last weekend.
In his absence, Shartash, in the Aga Khan’s colours, is likely to head the market to give Johnny Murtagh a victory as a trainer in a race he did not manage to win as a jockey, and a repeat of his one-and-three-quarter length third to Al Riffa in the National Stakes in September would put him right in the mix. The key form line among the home team, meanwhile, could prove to be a well-run renewal of the Group Three Prix de la Rochette over today’s course and distance in early September, in which Tigrais got up in the dying stride to short-head Breizh Sky. Gamestop, who was third home there but around two-and-a-half lengths behind the winner, is also in today’s field, while Pivotal Trigger, third behind Kubrick in a Group Three last time, lines up for Jessica Harrington.
They’re off in the Fashion Stakes in Paris. What’s the horse there on top of this racegoer’s hat?
The French racing authorities will be dreading Vadeni winning the Arc at 3,05pm this afternoon with bad-boy Christophe Soumillon on board. There will be plenty of punters who have supported him who won’t mind and his mount has been one of the best backed for the contest. The release fromBritishGambler.co.uk that landed in my email box just now reminded me of this, stating: “Despite calls for Soumillon to voluntarily withdraw from this weekend’s racing, Vadeni goes into Arc day as one of the most backed horses with his odds tumbling in the last few days; so much that he is now a best-priced 8-1 (down from 12/1).” Two of the four pundits on Sky Sports Racing have just plumped fopr the colt too.
Aidan O’Brien has taken out Middle Park runner-up The Antarctic from the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (1.15pm) … and he was the favourite.
It’s sticky out there …
Good afternoon from Longchamp in the Bois de Boulogne, where 20 horses, 19 jockeys and one enormous distraction will go to post for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe this afternoon.
Christophe Soumillon, the rider with the weighing room’s sharpest elbow, is no stranger to self-generated controversies. He is also likely to be one of the very few individuals at the track today who does not give Friday’s incident at Saint-Cloud, when he could have caused Rossa Ryan to suffer a serious injury or even worse, a second thought in the run-up to the most prestigious race of the European season.
Many in the stands, though, will struggle to understand why a rider who acted as Soumillon did just 48 hours ago is being allowed to carry on working this weekend. The answer, apparently, is that despite having a history of organised horse racing that dates back to the Napoleonic age, the French authorities have never managed – or felt the need – to introduce a rule that allows them to stand down a jockey with immediate effect.
That may well change as a result of Soumillon’s moment of madness on Friday, but they are saddled with him as the focus of attention today, when his mount, Vadeni, will start at around 8-1 to add the Arc to his victories in the French Derby and Eclipse Stakes earlier this year. Soumillon’s previous Arc successes have been greeted rapturously by the Longchamp crowds but the reception for a win by Vadeni could be interesting.
As the odds suggest, of course, it probably won’t happen, as Vadeni is just one among at least a dozen very plausible winners, including Luxembourg, Alpinista, last year’s shock winner Torquator Tasso, Westover, Onesto, Titleholder and Al Hakeem.
Luxembourg, who was half a length in front of Onesto in the Irish Champion Stakes last time, remains a narrow favourite but is on the drift this morning, out to 9-2 from 7-2, while the hugely popular grey mare Alpinista, from Sir Mark Prescott’s stable in Newmarket, is hunting him up in the market at 11-2.
The weather in Paris this weekend has been much more pleasant than many forecasts predicted but the going is still described as very soft and horses were finishing tired in the staying races here on Saturday.
The first of six Group One races on today’s card is the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, for juvenile colts, which is due off at 1.15pm British time, while the Arc itself is quite early on the card, at 3.05pm. You can follow all the action here on the live blog along with news, views and the occasional tip, to which the usual caveats about investments will apply. Bonne chance a tous!