Pre-Christmas Cracker at Chantilly!
One of the best day’s flat-racing (Breeders Cup aside) takes place in France over the weekend with Chantilly hosting Arc Weekend as Longchamp undergoes a facelift. Horses from Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Spain and Japan will all do battle on a real ‘Super Sunday’ that sees six Group One races up for grabs.
1.10pm – Prix Marcel Boussac: Won last year by Ballydoyle and this year Aidan O’Brien looks like relying on Promise To Be True, last seen when finishing 4L 5th to Intricately in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. The one to beat looks to be Toulifaut from ‘trainer of the moment’ Jean Claude Rouget. This unbeaten daughter of Frankel was very impressive when taking a Group 3 over C&D at the beginning of September.
1.45pm – Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere: A small field looks likely here and Aidan O’Brien should be well represented as usual but he hasn’t won this since 2006 – with many fancied horses being turned over since then. Kontrastat has been very progressive in all runs so far, particularly when taking a Group 3 at Saint Cloud last time out.
2.10pm – Prix De L’Opera: Jazz Top was just touched off in this for John Gosden last year and he returns with So Mi Dar this year. This unbeaten daughter of Dubawi will be many peoples idea of a weekend banker and she will be very hard to beat. She has been incredibly impressive thus far. Of the rest, Pleascach makes most appeal with her form from last season streets ahead of most of this field.
3.05pm – Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe: Maybe not as high-class a renewal as we have become accustomed to but a thrilling spectacle in prospect nonetheless. Postponed has been ante-post favourite for quite a while and although on a long winning run that stretches back to Ascot last year, the form of his latest win at York hasn’t been advertised at all. He’s also been beaten on three of the four occasions that he’s returned after a layoff of six weeks or more. Harzand would be a huge danger if returning to his dual-Derby winning form but he has to bounce back from a terrible performance in the Irish Champion Stakes. The horse that finished second in that race, Found, is definitely my idea of the winner. She’s been called a few names, mainly due to her penchant for finishing second, but she’s the most consistent Group 1 filly we’ve seen since Snow Fairy. She got no run in this race, at Longchamp, behind Golden Horn last year and turned the tables in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keenland later that month. This is definitely her time of year and she rates a 5-star each-way bet.
4.35pm – Prix De L’Abbaye: Mecca’s Angel is all the rage here and you can see why. A three-length winner of a Group 2 at the Curragh in July, she followed that up by hosing up from Limato in the Nunthorpe at York. She’s definitely the one to beat, particularly as the draw won’t be quite as influential as it would be at Longchamp. Ardad could make them all go in receipt of huge weight for age allowances and the form of his win in the Flying Childers at Doncaster has been advertised in no uncertain terms by The Last Lion. Washington DC has threatened to win one of these big sprints all year and could sneak a place at big prices.
5.15pm – Prix De La Foret: Limato was just beaten in this race last year and looks to make amends. He’s never really convinced that seven furlongs is his optimum trip but competition is thin on the ground. Andre Fabre’s Make Believe denied Limato last year and he might just repeat the dose with Jimmy Two Times.
Play this weekend on thetote.com