A big day for the French racing season with trials day at Chantilly. International racing aficionado and racecalling prodigy Luke Humphreys, @WorldRacingLuke, has put a mountain of work into this preview. And by tomorrow, you'll probably be able to find all his calls of the races on YouTube as well.
2017 Arc Trials Form Comment
Ah this time of year again, anything that has got to do with the words Arc de Triomphe instantly attracts me and this meeting is one my favourite’s of the season. It comes around quick, feels not long ago Treve was going for three, however for some reason it feels like Longchamp hasn’t had a meeting for ages, despite those two things being on the same programme. Ideally this programme was supposed to be the first back at Longchamp but we’re back at Chantilly again and go back to Longchamp in April, as always an interesting and enthralling day of racing.
Race 1 - 9:50pm from Chantilly – France (times shown are Australian - add 9hrs for BST)
Qatar Prix du Petit Couvert
1000m – Straight Course – Group Three – 80.000 €
1: GOLD VIBE: Consistent type that won last time out. 7th in this 12 months ago. Beaten 2 lengths by Ross three back at Deauville, who since finished well beaten in a G1 in New York on dirt. Able to reel back Moon Trouble to win at Fontainebleau at start of the month, only ever does enough, not sure it will be enough to win.
2: LARGENT DU BONHEUR: Ran a good race for 4th in a Chantilly G2 over 1000m on Prix du Jockey Club day behind Muthmir. Then beat Gold Vibe at Maisons-Laffitte narrowly. Then down the track behind the favourite Cox Bazar at Deauville. Was able to win there in the south of the country and La Teste de Buch, close to Spain, in a low Grade E contest. Ran down the field in this last year. Place.
3: MUBAALEGH: Only making start five here. Won well on debut but ran a very weak race in his only other run as a juvenile at Deauville on Good to Soft. Won well on his classic age debut at Chantilly however again ran a very weak race at his second run this time in, again at Deauville on Good to Soft. Undefeated at the course and both wins have been at the course. Drops to the 1000m for the first time, will be hoping for good ground.
4: KYLLANG ROCK: One of four UK raiders in the contest. Narrowly beat over this trip at York in a LR event in May, and was then again narrowly beaten at the same level over the same trip at Haydock. Then last of 11 in again a LR over 1000m at York. However ran a respectful race in the G2 King George at Goodwood over today’s trip behind very good types such as Battaash, Profitable and subsequent Nunthorpe winner Marsha. Was beaten three parts in a strong conditions race at Nottingham last time.
5: COX BAZAR: Been targeted for the Prix de l’Abbaye since impressively scorching up the straight at Deauville last time at LR level and now runs in the principle trial race for that feature sprint in three weeks’ time. Needs fast ground and needs to lead. Beaten only two lengths by Le Brivido earlier in the season, no idea why he isn’t running in Prix du Moulin but guessing hasn’t recovered from injury that ruled him out of Marois. Going for four wins in a row and has plenty of confidence. Won two starts ago by six lengths in good time at La Teste.
6: LADY MACAPA: Only the three starts this year for two 3rd’s and a 13th. Hasn’t seen the track since a good 3rd to Magical Memory in the G3 Hackwood in July. Seems to be a bit inconsistent.
7: EVIL SPELL: Former Italian now with the king of sprinters in the UK Robert Cowell. Three runs this year in England for a LR Bath 5th behind Priceless, down the track in a Nottingham LR, but ahead of Lady Macapa. Nearer to last then first however at The Curragh in a G3 last time. Outsider.
8: FACILITATE: Winner of her last two, including a strong Class 1 race at Deauville last time, where Double Lady and Mubaalegh finished down the track. Improving and Each-Way.
9: FASHION QUEEN: Only start five for her today trained by David O’Meara. Finished 5th in her last run as a juvenile in the G2 Lowther Stakes at York last season. This season two starts for a victory in a LR at York beating Kyllang Rock and a 6th in the Scurry at Sandown behind Battaash. Can definitely run into a place, is fresh.
10: CALIFORNIA TEE: Well down the track in the G3 Prix d’Arenberg last season on her final juvenile run. Class 1 winner over 100m further at Maisons-Laffitte in June. Well beaten behind Cox Bazar last time however and will be well outclassed here.
Remarkably none of these have won more than 100,000 EU so obviously no veterans in the line-up. (5) COX BAZAR looks one of the best of the day on his last couple of runs and just needs the ground to be somewhere near good and he should do the job en route to the Abbaye. (9) FASHION QUEEN beat (4) KYLLANG ROCK at York during the Dante meeting and that pair can run respectively, with the latter running well in the Goodwood King George recently. (8) FACILITATE has won her last two, including a strong non-black type contest last time out and is improving.
(5) COX BAZAR – (9) FASHION QUEEN – (4) KYLLANG ROCK – (8) FACILITATE
Race 2 – 10:20pm
Qatar Cup – Prix Dragon
2000m – Pure Bred Arabians – Group One – 60.000 €
1: DJELAMER: G1 4th last season over 2000m at Deauville in the Doha Cup during the Deauville Meeting where he loomed up at the 300m but weakened late. However winner of his three races since, including two from two this year, including a narrow G3 win in Belgium over Al Hayyem and winning The President of the UAE Cup at Duindigt in the Netherlands for the second year running, wins in that races either side of his last three victories in the form book. Getting better and better.
2: KHOR AL ADAID: Only had the three runs in this country and finished distanced last on all occasions. No idea why it’s running in this G1, absolutely no hope.
3: GAZWAN: G2 winner in Qatar last December. Beaten 3 ½ lengths in the G1 Emirs Sword in February. Ran 4th in the Arabian World Cup last year. G1 winner in April of the Gold Sword in Qatar and a half length 2nd in a Newbury G1 last time. Drawn the outside barrier of nine but brings top class form.
4: VALENTIN: Arabian veteran. 4th in this last year, three starts ago, to Al Mourtajez and 5th behind him in the Arabian World Cup last year. Only one run this season for a 5th in a Deauville G1 during the Deauville meeting, will find a few too good but will run respectively
5: AL HAYYEM: Consistent type that was narrowly beaten by Djelamer in The G3 President of the UAE Cup in Ostende, Belgium, last time. Has come a long way in a short amount of time but needs a career best.
6: YAZEED: Only had the two runs for a 3rd last year in a feature trial race and then won his only start this season H.H.Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani Silver Cup beating Ebraz. Ebraz has since franked the form, big chance on that.
7: EBRAZ: Runner-up in the Qatar Derby for Arabians last December. Beaten by Yazeed on his first run this season. Then snatched up two wins including the feature Arabian race in Qatar, The Emir’s Sword, by 3 ½ lengths. He then won a La Teste G3 followed by a 2nd followed by a Nose 2nd in a Newbury G1 over 1600m. Hard to beat.
8: JEYOOSH: G1 runner-up last season on Arc Saturday in the Arabian Trophy for 4YO Mares. Then an easy winner at Casablanca on final run last season by 8 lengths. However distanced in Newbury G1 last time so obvious question marks after that.
9: NAZIQ: Won that G1 on Arc Saturday last year when going to the front getting 15 to 20 lengths in front and holding on by 4. However was then well beaten into 6th place by Jeyoosh at Casablanca in Morocco. Three runs this year for a 2nd on debut down at Toulouse in a G2, followed by a fourth of five in a La Teste G2 however bounced back to form winning a G3 at Ostende in Belgium under Richard Mullen.
Arabian G1 and all Arabian races are hard to work out but this is there trial for the Arabian World Cup on Arc Day. (6) YAZEED beat (7) EBRAZ earlier in the season and the latter has since come out and won the feature race in Qatar and a nose G1 2nd last time at Newbury. Think he can confirm form with him, (3) GAZWAN is an old campaigner in these races but is an each-way chance along with (1) DJELAMER.
(6) YAZEED – (7) EBRAZ – (3) GAZWAN – (1) DJELAMER
Race 3 – 10:50pm
Qatar Prix Niel
2400m – Group Two – 130.000 €
1: FINCHE: Son of Frankel and brother to G1 Prince of Wales’s winner Byword, Vincent Cheminaud for Andre Fabre and Prince Khalid Abdullah who won this two years ago with New Bay. Impressive debut win in a debutante race over 1600m at Deauville on Poule d’Essai des Poulains day. Then a LR 3rd at Compiegne when stepped up to 2000m beaten 1 ½ lengths behind Afandem before reversing form with him in the feature race of the season at Maisons-Laffitte, Avilius back in 3rd runs today. Improving type that dodged the Deauville G2 for this and should be the one getting closest to Cracksman, how close that is remains to be seen.
2: ICE BREEZE: Consistent type raced, again, by Khalid Abdullah but prepared by Pascal Bary and Pierre-Charles Boudot picks up the ride with Vincent Cheminaud choosing Finche. Prefers the ground to be fast. Stayed on strongly on debut over 2100m in April, showing he needs further before winning a Conditions race on Prix Ganay day over 2400m getting there in the closing stages. Then 2 lengths behind Called To The Bar, subsequent 2nd to America’s best 3YO any surface in my opinion in the Belmont Derby Oscar Performance, in the G3 Prix du Lys over 2400m on Good ground defeating subsequent G1 Grand Prix de Paris winner Shakeel by a length when again doing his best work late, Walsingham last of six. Then won the Grand Prix de Paris trial, G2 Prix Hocquart, over C&D on Good ground on Prix de Diane day again beating Shakeel but this time narrowly but again doing the best work late. Game 4th when getting too far back in a slow run Grand Prix de Paris behind Shakeel, Permian and Venice Beach. Four of five runs at Saint-Cloud however undefeated C&D and at G2 level. A couple of lengths behind a few here though.
3: AVILIUS: Improving Godolphin runner prepared by Andre Fabre. Five starts for two wins, two thirds and a 4th debut when beaten six lengths over an inadequate 1600m on All-Weather when running to the line well, without a doubt the best horse to have come out of that particular debutante contest. Then won over 1900m on A-W at Chantilly when winning comfortably by two and then completed back to back wins in a LR at Maisons-Laffitte only narrowly winning but travelling into it confidently and winning with plenty up the tank. Good 3rd in two G2’s since behind Finche and Afandem at Maisons-Laffitte when unlucky and then the first of the locals home behind Eminent and Salouen in the G2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano. All three runs on Turf have been on Good ground so ideally would like ground to be fast.
4: CRACKSMAN: Son of Frankel to be ridden by Frankie Dettori, trained by John Gosden and raced by Anthony Oppenheimer and of cause that trio won the Arc two years ago with Golden Horn, and of cause this particular race is one of the main trials for the Arc. Plenty of comparisons have been drawn to Golden Horn and whilst he isn’t as good as him yet he is getting better and better. Only start six today with three wins, a second and one third, those two placings coming in the Derby and the Irish Derby when running very respectively on both occasions. So impressive when hacking up the G2 Great Voltigeur last time at York and connections had originally planned to put him away for next season but have been tempted to race again and have decided to come here. English 3YO Colts have proven to be better than their French compatriots and this horse looks one of the best bets of the day.
5: WALSINGHAM: Won a German Derby trial earlier in the season before finishing 3rd in a LR behind Wolf Country at Saint-Cloud when getting a tad out of his ground before staying on. Then finished last of six in the G3 Prix du Lys before winning a LR and then running 2nd in another LR narrowly ahead of Monreal who ran well on Friday at Saint-Cloud in a 3YO 3000m G3. Likely to find a few too good for him here though.
(4) CRACKSMAN was just awesome on The Knavesmire last time and the only thing that will beat him here is if he desperately needed a spell after that run, as connections we’re planning to do. (1) FINCHE is getting better and better and targeted for this by Fabre, (3) AVILIUS could end up being one of the better horses of his age in this country. (2) ICE BREEZE is very consistent but can only put him in for 4th here. Race missing Shakeel due to a possible career ending tendon injury.
(4) CRACKSMAN – (1) FINCHE – (3) AVILIUS – (2) ICE BREEZE
Race 4 – 11:30pm
Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club – Grand Handicap des Hauts-de-France
1900m – Grade B Handicap – 70.000 €
4yr+ old – All-Weather
1: HELLO MY LOVE: 5th in this 12 months ago. Lightly raced over the last 12 or so months. 2nd in the feature handicap in this country of the season last season, Grand Handicap de Deauville. Ran a screamer for 2nd on Arc Saturday in the G2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein, defeating Moonlight Magic, and beaten a length and three parts by Taareef. Only two runs this season for a 4th in the Grand Prix de La Teste de Buch and a 2nd at this level at Deauville last time on this surface. Carries top weight but a chance on form and will be up near the lead.
2: MIRACLE DES AIGLES: First-up since the end of April and prepared by Corine Barnade-Barbe. Already the winner of two major handicaps this season and beaten only a half-length in another, both at this course on both surfaces, led all the way on this surface in March and then won the Grand Handicap des Milers, one of the major mile handicaps of the season. Problem is the handicapper has caught him now, in saying that ran a big race at the end of May in a 2000m Handicap when going close to leading all the way. Another pace angle.
3: ALLEZ HENRI: Last year’s winner and specialist on this surface. Consistent 6YO gelding that was 3rd in the Easter Classic at Lingfield beaten 2 ¼ lengths however well down the track at Royal Ascot in the Wolferton. 2nd last time at Deauville. Need to find some of is better form from earlier in the season.
4: TIME SHANAKILL: Very consistent this season with only poor run over too shorter distance and too softer ground. Already the winner of two big handicaps this season including at the end of July at Deauville at this level, distance and surface. Rises 4kg though.
5: ASTRAL MERIT: Very consistent filly. Winner of a handicap over Time Shanakill, carrying a bigger weight than him, earlier in the season. Then spelled before a LR 5th, a LR 2nd and a narrow Handicap 2nd behind Time Shanakill, again carrying a much bigger weight than him and went down fighting. Subsequent LR 4th. Now that Time Shanakill and this particular filly are on level weights, I’m happy to accept a dare of any kind if Time Shanakill can still beat Astral Merit.
6: VEAKALTO: Drawn very wide here but a surface and handicap specialist. Beaten only a half by Astral Merit and Time Shanakill in that Handicap at Deauville in January, when working home from nowhere and arguably should’ve won. Last start winner at Deauville over 62kg, only 57.5kg here.
7: NICE TO SEE YOU: Has run in plenty of big handicaps over the last couple of months and consistently. A 2nd on Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud day, followed by a 3rd at Maisons-Laffitte, an unlucky run at Deauville before never getting into in the Grand Handicap de Deauville and at Saint-Cloud last time which was a total forgive run.
8: I AM CHARLIE: Defeated home Time Shanakill a couple of starts back at Lyon, but Time Shanakill had no conditions to favor. Well beaten in form line race for this at Deauville at end of July when never running on.
9: DARK DREAM: Mostly double digit finishes in major handicaps last couple of months, dropping back in trip sharply from 3200m last time when running on from the back when never in it. Not a bad run however over 2400m at Clairefontaine two back.
10: SKATERS WALTZ: Won the big mile handicap like a future nice horse on Arc Day 2014 at big odds, hasn’t gone on since. In saying that unlucky in some handicaps this year including last time against most of these
11: FLAG FEN: Ran 5th in a LR earlier in the year, dropped out of the Grand Handicap de Deauville last time.
12: STAR SUN: Last year’s runner-up. A horse that often finds a couple better than him, as he was doing at this time last year. Was able to finally win a feature handicap though in March very narrowly at Deauville followed by an unlucky 4th in the Grand Handicap de la Seine at Saint-Cloud, then a never nearer 12th in one of the feature mile handicaps of the year. 3rd in the form race for this at Deauville at the end of July. One of the chances, but often finds one or two too good.
13: MADIVA: LR 3rd beaten only a length at Le Lion d’Angers three back. 7th in the form line race for this at Deauville. Down the track at Clairefontaine last time.
14: DONUTS REYOR: Competed in plenty of feature handicaps this season, this is the biggest one yet however. Nose winner here at Chantilly over C&D in April. Will get back in the field but that style of racing can be dangerous in these competitive big fields.
15: ISACC: Winner of three from 16 but hasn’t won for a little while. Unlucky 4th at Maisons-Laffitte three back when drawing widest of 16 and storming down the outside in the straight. Drawn wide again here though, prefers to be up there. 13th of 16 in the form race for this at Deauville last time, never in it.
16: HAPPY CAUSE: Six starts for three placings in major handicaps in France. Very unlucky four back at Chantilly when never ever getting a run.
17: POLKARENA: Won at Aix-Les-Bains four back and then 2nd at the same venue after that, in their feature race of the season. Beaten 1 ¾ lengths into 4th in a feature fillies handicap on Prix Jean Prat day. Well trounced last time
One of the feature handicaps of the season in France and as all handicaps are, a tough race to work out and the big betting race of the day in the country. (5) ASTRAL MERIT brings in consistent form and has beaten (4) TIME SHANAKILL and been defeated by him with both bigger weights than him in the past. Now they are on level weights, happy to accept any dare if she is beaten to the line by him. (12) STAR SUN is very consistent and was narrowly beaten in this 12 months ago, (10) SKATERS WALTZ is finding form,
(4) TIME SHANAKILL will jump favourite most likely, happy to take him on however.
(4) TIME SHANAKILL will jump favourite most likely, happy to take him on however.
(5) ASTRAL MERIT – (12) STAR SUN – (10) SKATERS WALTZ – (4) TIME SHANAKILL
Race 5 – 12:15am
Qatar Prix Vermeille
2400m – Group One – 350.000 €
3yr+ old Fillies & Mares
1: TRAFFIC JAM: Only start eight for this 4yo today. Neck 2nd in feature race of the season at Compiegne behind the smart Best Fouad. Narrow 2nd to Bateel over 2500m at Deauville in the G2 Prix de Pomone, finishing in front of Abingdon and Kitesurf. Proven over further, pace angle, consistent.
2: BATEEL: Has been very good indeed since joining Francis-Henri Graffard. G2 winner over Traffic Jam last time and an easy G3 winner at Haydock before that, when beating subsequent G1 winner Ajman Princess into 3rd place who is in here. And a 3000m G3 2nd to Marmelo on Graffard debut. Last G1 attempt was a last in the British Champions Filles & Mares but has without doubt come on since then.
3: AJMAN PRINCESS: Last start all the way winner of G1 Prix Jean Romanet beating Left Hand into 3rd placing. However beaten a couple of lengths by Bateel at Haydock in June and 1 ½ lengths by The Black Princess into 3rd place in the G2 Lancashire Oaks. But last start was definitely encouraging but unders for mine
4: THE BLACK PRINCESS: Lightly raced over the last 12 months but three starts this season for a G3 winner over 2000m here, a G2 Lancashire Oaks win over Abingdon and Ajman Princess and a 2nd to Blond Me in the G2 Middleton Stakes up at York. Very consistent and two starts for two wins in this country.
5: ENDLESS TIME: Led all the way bar the last 100 12 months ago when 2nd to Left Hand in a tactical affair. Winner of half of her 14 starts and one of my favourite fillies in training currently. Also another G1 runner-up for her in this country behind Vazirabad in the Prix Royal-Oak. Only just beaten in Yorkshire Cup into 4th, bombed out in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot due to the fast ground and just got there in the last few strides to win the G3 Lillie Langtry at Goodwood. Worried if the 2400m might be a bit short for her these days, has her ground though.
6: BLOND ME: Only two runs this season but very good in both winning the G2 Middleton Stakes over The Black Princess, Smart Call and Queen’s Trust and a 2nd to Winter in the G1 Nassau. Steps up to a mile and a half but the ground at Goodwood last time was very heavy over 2000m so the trip shouldn’t be a problem. The one to beat.
7: JOURNEY: Very impressive last season but poor in two runs this year. First-up since a poor Pretty Polly run, if at her best right up there.
8: LEFT HAND: Winless since winning this race last year. Has been slow to burn this year but has been getting better and better, especially her last two. This her target for the season.
9: BAIYOUNA: Only the three starts for two victories. Beaten into 5th place behind Strathspey in a G2 as favourite two back when never ever in it. Winner over 2500m last time beating Casterton, 3YO G3 place-getter on Friday, Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend looks a good race for her. Each-Way
10: STRATHSPEY: G2 winner two back at Saint-Cloud over the trip when staying on strongly and then dropped 400m in trip when 4th at Deauville behind Sobetsu, Onthemoonagain and Senga at G2 level. This trip suits better. Again G2 Prix de Royallieu looks a good race for her. Each-Way.
11: GOD GIVEN: Very progressive type. Four length maiden winner at Haydock followed by a G3 victory over 2500m at Deauville on Prix Jacques le Marois day when leading all the way and pulling away late. Just misses my top four selections.
One of the feature mares races of the season in the world and the trial for the Arc for the girls. Plenty of chances but (6) BLOND ME gets my vote, hasn’t put a foot wrong this year with two terrific performances for Oisin Murphy and Andrew Balding. (7) JOURNEY on the other hand has been disappointing in two runs this season, especially last time when bombing out of the Pretty Polly in Ireland. However the choice of Frankie Dettori over (4) THE BLACK PRINCESS who beat subsequent G1 winner (3) AJMAN PRINCESS at Haydock last time. (2) BATEEL has been very good in all three runs this year. (11) GOD GIVEN the pick of the three year olds.
(6) BLOND ME – (7) JOURNEY – (2) BATEEL – (4) THE BLACK PRINCESS
Race 6 – 12:55am
Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp
1600m – Group One – 450.000 €
1: MASSAAT: Has plenty of talent. 2nd to Air Force Blue in the Dewhurst and Galileo Gold in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Was then well beaten in the Derby followed by effectively being pulled up in the G3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury. One run this year, first-up for 12 months, when winning the G2 Hungerford at Newbury. Always had plenty of ability, very good horse.
2: TAAREEF: Christophe Soumillon jumps aboard today. Two victories over Zelzal and Al Wukair earlier in the season but dropped out of the Prix Jacques le Marois on Soft ground which wasn’t too his liking in my opinion. A very smart customer at his best but ground is currently Good to Soft.
3: ZELZAL: Last year’s 3rd when going off favourite which was only three starts ago. Always had ability and four of his last five runs have been over the C&D. Game 4th in the Sussex at Goodwood but won’t be reversing form with Ribchester.
4: ROBIN OF NAVAN: UK prepared but usually runs here in France. Weakened right out of the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud last time, personally don’t understand why he is dropping back to a mile, don’t think it’s the right decision.
5: RIBCHESTER: Best miler in Europe winning the Lockinge, Queen Anne this year. Won the Prix Jacques le Marois last season and now trying to complete the intergenerational G1 mile double in France. Forget last time, the one to beat.
6: LIGHTNING SPEAR: Very good horse but not quite up to winning a G1, always finds one too good. In saying that he does deserve one but he won’t be reversing form with Ribchester.
7: INNS OF COURT: Extremely good horse that ran a screamer in the Prix Jacques le Marois and should’ve won after bombing the start. Has a very exciting future, doubt he can beat Ribchester but he’ll come closest. Has the Prix de la Foret as his mercy in a couple of weeks.
8: LADY FRANKEL: Only filly in the line-up likely to be outclassed. Grabbed Tisbutadream right on the line in a 3YOF G3 over this trip at Deauville in August.
Another one of the big feature races of the season that has attracted a top line-up. Expect (5) RIBCHESTER to bounce right back to form after what was a very weird Sussex Stakes that was won by nearly a handicapper. Best miler in Europe otherwise and should once again prove that here. (7) INNS OF COURT is without doubt one of the best horses in Andre Fabre’s stable and has the misfortune of running into (5) RIBCHESTER here. (1) MASSAAT is a very able type at his best and it was a very promising first-up win, (6) LIGHTNING SPEAR is very consistent.
(5) RIBCHESTER – (7) INNS OF COURT – (1) MASSAAT – (6) LIGHTNING SPEAR
Race 7 – 1:35am
Qatar Prix Foy
2400m – Group Two – 130.000 €
1: CLOTH OF STARS: Very good horse in the Andre Fabre/Godolphin stable that is unbeaten from three runs this year. Easily won a G3 first-up before progressing to G2 company over Mekhtaal and further progression to beating Zarak, Silverwave, Erupt etc in the G1 Prix Ganay. Missed Royal Ascot, targeted for the Arc for a couple of months, expect a very promising run, handles any ground, holds the track/course record over 2000m here.
2: TALISMANIC: Stepped up to 2800m when looking like a future Melbourne Cup contender to my eye when winning at G2 level at Saint-Cloud when beating Marmelo, who has since franked the form. Very consistent, won’t be winning but won’t be disgraced.
3: SILVERWAVE: Last year’s winner and was 2nd in the Prix Niel the year before behind New Bay. Bombed out in the Arc and in Hong Kong last year. Returned to run 3rd in the Prix Ganay, beat Talismanic in the Grand Prix de Chantilly and 2nd to Zarak when trying to retain his title in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, very consistent, won’t be far away.
4: DSCHINGIS SECRET: First of three international’s in the event from Germany. Seven length Italian St Leger winner last year and beat Hawkbill in the G1 Grosser Preis Von Berlin at Hoppegarten. Three wins from four starts this season, skipped last week’s G1 Grosser Preis Von Baden, Germany’s leading all-age contest, for this, obvious confidence, handles either ground
5: SATONO DIAMOND: One of the very best horses from Japan and their hope to break the Arc drought for 2017. Nose 2nd to Makahiki, who won the Prix Niel before bombing out in the Arc, in last year’s Japanese Derby and then came out and conquered in the St. Leger. He then beat Kitasan Black in the G1 Arima Kinen, one of Japan’s championship races for the season. Two runs this season for a brilliant G2 win over 3000m and 3rd to Kitasan Black and Cheval Grand in the Tenno Sho (Spring) over 3200m, possibly a tad disappointing as he beat Cheval Grand first-up. Either way he has been spelled since the end of April with one race in mind, has been here three or so weeks to settle in. Christophe Lemaire rides for Yasutoshi Ikee who visits France for the first time since Orfevre’s bids in the Arc.
6: SATONO NOBLESSE: Travelling companion and pacemaker for Satono Diamond but a pretty decent type in his own right. Yuga Kawada rides, remember he was the jockey that rode Harp Star in 2014 when she was dead last and stormed home in the straight behind Treve. 10th in the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) behind Maurice last year and 13th in last year’s Arima Kinen. One run this year in March in a 2000m G2 at Chukyo when 11th. Not completely useless.
Small but select field for the main older horse Arc trial. (5) SATONO DIAMOND is an extremely good horse, equal best horse in Japan with Kitasan Black who hasn’t made the trip, and will be very hard to beat. (1) CLOTH OF STARS is unbeaten this year and an extremely top class horse in his own right as is (3) SILVERWAVE. (4) DSCHINGIS SECRET is the X Factor, (6) SATONO NOBLESSE and (2) TALISMANIC are far from useless.
(5) SATONO DIAMOND – (1) CLOTH OF STARS – (3) SILVERWAVE – (4) DSCHINGIS SECRET
Race 8 – 2:10am
Qatar Prix Gladiateur
3000m – Group Three – 80.000 €
1: VAZIRABAD: Best stayer in the country that unfortunately, hasn’t been seen since winning a three horse G2 here at the end of May over C&D for the second year running when just beating Sirus. Has top weight of 59kg, only ever does enough, but it usually is enough to win.
2: HOLDTHASIGREEN: Last start G2 Prix Kergorlay 3rd and beaten by a progressive horse called Smart Whip at Vichy before that. Two times LR winner this season at Maisons-Laffitte at Lyon. Pace angle.
3: NEARLY CAUGHT: Winner of seven from 29 and very consistent. Prix Kergorlay winner last year. LR winner at Sandown two back over 3250m on Eclipse day. 4th in this year’s Prix Kergorlay last time.
4: SIRIUS: Only winner of four from 23 but good German raider that was narrowly beaten by Vazirabad at G2 level over the C&D at the end of May and then 3rd to Talismanic and Marmelo over 2800m at G2 also at Saint-Cloud. Only 6th in Grosser Preis Von Berlin last time, return to staying trip suits.
5: TRIP TO RHODOS: 8 year old now that has competed in the Prix du Cadran a couple of times. Only three runs this year, first-up since end of May.
6: FLYMETOTHESTARS: UK raider prepared by Sir Mark Prescott. 3rd in the Northumberland Plate and last start 2nd in the Ebor to Nakeeta when narrowly beaten.
7: MING DYNASTY: Winner of half of his 12 starts but not the horse he once was. Ran very respectively behind Highland Reel and Flintshire in the 2015 Hong Kong Vase but the trip out there must’ve taken it out of him. Trying him over this longer trip
8: VENT DE FORCE: Hughie Morrison has plenty of good stayers and this is one of them but he has been very lightly campaigned over the last couple of months/years.
Oldest flat race in France which (1) VAZIRABAD looks to win for the second time, best stayer in the country and should be winning. (4) SIRIUS is getting a bit long in the tooth now but is still consistent enough. (2) HOLDTHASIGREEN has been an improver this year and (3) NEARLY CAUGHT rarely runs a bad race.
(1) VAZIRABAD – (4) SIRIUS – (2) HOLDTHASIGREEN – (3) NEARLY CAUGHT
Race 9 – 2:40am
Prix Al Wakra Presente par RMC
1600m – Handicap – 26.000 €
4yr+ old Fillies – All-Weather
1: ARCADIA: Stormed home to finish 2nd at Saint-Cloud two back and did so again from well back at Clairefontaine last time. Top weight but probably the one to beat however drawn 12 of 15.
2: DALIGALA: Was able to win on Prix Jean Prat day by 2 ½ lengths after a cosy run behind the leader. 4th last time at Clairefontaine just in front of Arcadia.
3: BAT ALOUFAT: Only two wins from 33 starts. 3rd at Deauville in a claimer last time.
4: SAO PAULO MENINA: Scratched
5: CATUSHABA: Was running well a couple of starts back, including two wins in a row, but well down the track the last twice.
6: SARDEGNA: Place hope best. Hasn’t been running badly but will need to lift its mark.
7: ELEKTRA STREET: Last couple of runs have been at very low grade tracks. No hoper.
8: NOBLE AGRIPPINA: Won at Saint-Malo two back but usually finds a couple too good for her at metropolitan tracks.
9: PINK: Winner of three of her last seven. Very easy winner leading all the way here five back and then tried the 3000m trip but weakened right out of it. Back to a mile here.
10: MAJURA: Won two back at Deauville, weakened out of it last time.
11: ALEX DES FOSSES: Winner of her last two on the track, seems big overs.
12: RED FINE: 5th last time the best effort since a victory six back.
13: AFSANE: Winner last time at Clairefontaine, down the bottom of the weights comes in with a big show.
14: SHAMAR LOVE: Well raced having start 70 here. Finished last in a major handicap last time, no hoper.
15: BERUSKA: Winner here five starts back on Prix de Diane Saturday. Been consistent enough since, featherweight of 51kh helps.
Another very tough handicap to finish off the card. (13) AFSANE was a winner at good odds at Clairefontaine last time and this German prepared horse can follow up. (11) ALEX DES FOSSES seems big overs considering she has won her last two. (1) ARCADIA and (2) DALIGALA who are at the top of the weights rate next best
(13) AFSANE – (11) ALEX DES FOSSES – (1) ARCADIA – (2) DALIGALA