By Geoffrey Riddle
The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe clearly revolves around Enable and whether she has the constitution to register a sixth consecutive victory on Sunday.
As I have outlined in the Racinguk.com Arc preview three-year-old fillies have triumphed in France after busy campaigns previously and connections of the daughter of Nathaniel believe that she has the guts to slug out another race on what was close to being soft ground on Saturday.
I am inclined to keep the faith, and from a decent draw in stall two Frankie Dettori has the perfect gate to get his mount in to the prominent position she so loves. Her style of racing means that she is unlikely to be caught up in heavy traffic and her 17 rivals may well only see her backside for much of the 12 furlongs.
Aidan O’Brien has thrown all of his blunderbuss artillery at the race, and if the ground had been better he would have pitched in last season’s runner-up Highland Reel, also.
The Ballydoyle team are likely to have the race run to suit them, rather than Enable, and there is the suspicion that they intend to run the legs off her and allow Winter’s natural cruising speed, and possible ability to stay on at the end of the 12 furlongs, to be enough.
Personally I think Enable will win, but Evens is no price to be recommending an investment on dodgy ground and a more profitable bet anyway could be to back Order Of St George in the without the favourite market.
On Timeform adjusted ratings his stunning effort last time in the Irish St Leger when he won by nine lengths was not only the finest performance of his career but also the single best piece of form on soft ground aside from Enable’s victorious effort in the King George.
Obviously there is the suspicion that he was flattered slightly, but horses such as Flintshire and Youmzain have placed in multiple Arcs and at 6-1 with BetVictor with each-way terms a fifth the first three Order Of St George looks a better bet than plunging on the favourite at cramped odds anyway.Order Of St George was third in the Arc last season under Frankie Dettori (PA)
The soft ground is a concern for defending Prix l’Abbaye de Longchamp champion Marsha, who looks very short at 2-1 given she prefers better ground.
Both Signs Of Blessing and Battaash have shown they are top-class in such conditions and at 9-2 and 11-4 respectively they look of interest against the favourite.
Battaash clearly has the more scope for improvement, but Signs Of Blessing’s perfect scenario is five furlongs on soft ground with little to trouble him up front. That is what he will get here, and as he stays further I think the six-year-old can dominate early and grind it out where it matters.
If there was any reason why Brando ran so lamentably last time in the Sprint Cup at Haydock then the 6-1 about him might be appealing in the Qatar Prix de la Foret.
There does not seem to be one, however, and backing a horse that finished 12 lengths off the winner last time at Group One level is probably not a profitable strategy, for all you will secure better prices. This looks a gilt-edged opportunity for Martyn Meade to get Aclaim dining at the top table, but at 20-1 I cannot leave Toscanini unbacked.
All season the five-year-old has been sent out on pacemaking duties for more illustrious stable companion Ribchester. He was leading the Queen Anne field with just over a furlong to go at Royal Ascot in June!
Those efforts clearly stood him in good stead because he ran the race of his career when just denied by Talaayeb last time at York.
That performance leaves him with only a little to find, and reunited with James Doyle, who won on him in Ireland last season, he could well find it. It seems worth paying to find out, at any rate.
In the juvenile contests Aidan O’Brien looks to have a strong grip on both the Total Prix Marcel Boussac that opens Arc day and the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere.
Magical and Happily appear to be two very progressive fillies who both relish soft ground and with that in mind they should only be opposed with limited funds, especially given the wins of Clemmie and U S Navy Flag at Newmarket on Saturday.Happily and Magical could draw Aidan O'Brien ever nearer to Bobby Frankel's Group One record (PA)
Although Happily takes on the colts in the Lagadere, it actually looks as if Magical has the harder assignment with the unbeaten duo of Polydream and Narella both looking potentially out of the top drawer.
Narella is by Reliable Man, who won the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in 2011, and will relish the soft conditions and could be a big price at 14-1.
The Qatar Purebred Arabian World Cup may not be for everybody, but it is worth trying to find a price about Ebraz, who was touched off at Glorious Goodwood before storming to victory on Arc Trials day here a few weeks ago. Trainer Julian Smart said that day that Ebraz "was a machine, end of," which is both refeshing, and probably accurate. The 5-2 looks huge.
How to Bet Your £20 at Chantilly:
2.20 Chantilly: £2 Ebraz at 5-2
3.05 Chantilly: £4 each-way Order Of St George without Enable at 6-1 with BetVictor
£1 Lucky 15 on Enable, Ebraz, Signs Of Blessing and Toscanini
£5 win on Order Of St George without Enable at 6-1 with BetVictor
£5 each-way on Order Of St George without Enable at 6-1 with BetVictor
£2 each-way double on Toscanini and Narella
£6 double on Signs Of Blessing and Ebraz