I feel the urge to spread my bonhomie around the minor counties and so later today I shall progress to Dorsetshire. I very much doubt that we shall see more than six people all weekend. A quiet supper on Friday, dinner on Saturday with a charming couple, perhaps Mass on Sunday at The Church of St Candida and Holy Cross, in Whitchurch Canonicorum. I have yet to meet a Candida I didn’t admire and was unaware that there was such a saint. My modern-day Bradshaws tells me that some of the church is 12th century and the work of the Benedictines. The Normans then fiddled with it, but fortunately and despite both Thomas and Oliver Cromwell, the church remains predominantly Early English and Perpendicular. It is one of only two parish churches in the country to have a shrine that contains the relics of their patron saint, in this case belonging to St Candida (her Saxon name was St Wite) to whom the church is dedicated. A hermit who got killed in a Viking raid, history is a bit vague about her sainted acts. George Somers, the founder of the colony of Bermuda, is buried under the vestry and the assassinated Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov is interred in the churchyard. The ashes of the broadcaster Sir Robin Day are interred by the South door. For a small country church, it has attracted some celebrity bones over the years.
On other matters, I might have mentioned getting Theo, the Intern from Hell, to calculate our P& L over the last year and beyond. I have uploaded the figures and the extraordinarily detailed spreadsheet now resides in the Downloads Department, (or you can CLICK HERE for an Excel copy). In brief, we have made, from 3rd July 2019 to date, 1296 recommendations in just over 200 posts, for a total investment of approximately 2778 pts. To date, we have shown a loss £-48.08 over the fifteen months. However, for the current YTD, we have made a profit of £66.27.
Don’t mean to shout, but A PROFIT!
As pastimes go, I feel we are far removed from sleeping under the arches at Charing Cross station, indeed de temps en temps, we have had sufficient to move further down the restaurant wine list! At least I feel as though I am not leading you all too far astray.
Parler de vous égarer, here are my early thoughts for tomorrow and for Longchamp on Sunday.
1:40 NEWMARKET £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 6f
JUST FRANK is way too high at around 22/1. He has been gelded since his second at Redcar in the summer, and he has a ton of untapped potential. A perfectly ordinary novice auction stakes, he raced freely in front, and then simply kicked away 2f effortlessly. FAIRY DUST was 2nd in the Hughes at Newbury and reportedly wasn’t at home on the quick ground at Windsor, despite winning, and one should ignore her LTO run in Salisbury’s G3 The Dick Poole, which was probably a step too far. She has ability. I know Archie runs MIGHTY GURKHA but I see know spice in her price. Instead, consider RANIA who won a nursery handicap at Salisbury effortlessly. So much so that Sylvester Kirk had to give explanations. I suspect she could be decent, possibly to Kirk’s surprise. Atzeni will give him greater insight post-race.
JUST FRANK e/w – RANIA e/w
1:55 ASCOT tote.co.uk Rous Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (3yo+) 5f
DAKOTA GOLD has won Listed races, is only 2lb shy of his last winning mark, likes the course, loves the ground, has decent speed figures and a decent draw. If he doesn’t try to set the pace and stays covered up this is his. ALJADY is next best.
DAKOTA GOLD win
2:10 NEWMARKET British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m2f
BE MORE e/w
2:30 ASCOT tote.co.uk Cumberland Lodge Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m4f
DESERT ENCOUNTER e/w
2:45 NEWMARKET Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m
FELICIANA DE VEGA could have been called the winner a long way out in the Darley Stakes at Newmarket LTO and gave Ralph Beckett a course four-timer. She was baulked at almost every move in a Listed race at St Cloud before that, but Harry Bentley kept her out of traffic and then let this Amazon power along under gentle guidance. She’s a big girl and will need to be handled carefully, but I think this is a clever piece of placing. PEACEFUL’s was originally aimed for the Prix de l’Opera but marginally better ground over less distance sees her come here. She won the Irish 1,000 Guineas and might have won the Prix de Diane with a different route. TEREBELLUM looks the danger.
PEACEFUL win – FELICIANA DE VEGA e/w – Either PEACEFUL or TEREBLLUM to beat FELICIANA DE VEGA for 2x½pt SFC
3:05 ASCOT tote.co.uk Challenge Cup (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 (3yo+) 7f
I suspect RAISING SANDS will be favourite here thanks to the ceaseless rain we are enduring. He benefits from Saffie Osborne taking 7lbs off which puts him on a very handy mark. However such conditions will also suit KING OTTOKAR. He made his handicap debut at Donny LTO and despite having only ever run on ground with soft in the going description, travelled strongly. but was baulked at a moment critique., and could never get going again. I thought he was heading for The Balmoral next weekend, and indeed this might be easier. GREENSIDE, ROPEY GUEST and REVICH concern me.
RAISING SANDS win – KING OTTOKAR e/w – ROPEY GUEST e/w
3:25 REDCAR William Hill Two Year Old Trophy (Listed Race) Cl1 (2yo) 6f
This is so ground dependent
DIGITAL e/w – BLIND BEGGAR e/w
3:40 ASCOT John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f
CAPE BYRON won this last year and his near year-long absence is probably not an issue. THE TIN MAN was unimpressive LTO but ran a decent 2nd in The Hackwood Stakes the time before at Newbury in July. Longshots might be the answer here, and my sporting brace is BRANDO and SNAZZY JAZZY and I suggest dutching the two for a total of 4pts. At current odds of 8 & 10 in that order, a bet of 2.22 pts at 8/1 and 1.78 pts at 10/1, would yield a 13.78pt profit to a 4pt stake if either won. That is approx 7/2 the pair.
BRANDO dutch – SNAZZY JAZZY dutch 4pts total
12:30 Qatar Prix Chaudenay (Group 2) (3yo) (Grande Course) (Turf) (3yo) 1m7f
MAX VEGA win – ¼pt SFC beats MYKISS
13:35 Qatar Prix Dollar (Group 2) (3yo+) (Grande Course: 2nd Post) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m2f
GLYCON looks progressive. Has won 4 from 5 including a G3 LTO by a head. 7/1 is too long. SKALLETI won this last year and nothing suggests he can’t do it again.
SKALLETI win – GLYCON e/w
14:15 Qatar Prix de Royallieu (Group 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Grande Course) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m6f
PISTA won the G2 Park Hill Stakes, is a proven stayer and looks progressive. MISS YODA cannot be ignored at 12s, having won the German Oaks for Gosden.
PISTA win – MISS YODA e/w
15:25 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein (Group 2) (3yo+) (Grande Course) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m
THE REVENANT loves the heavy ground, and goes well fresh. He was last seen coming second in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. His main rivals could well be SHAMAN who was third in this last year.
THE REVENANT win
16:00 Qatar Prix du Cadran (Group 1) (4yo+) (New & Grande Course) (Turf) (4yo+) 2m4f
CALL THE WIND won this in 2018, was 2nd last year, and terrier-like is back for another crack at the top spot. PRINCESS ZOE is taking another big leap in class, up for a five-timer, having won a Galway Listed LTO. THINK OF ME beat a number of these in the G3 Prix Gladiateur when second and has claims. Jesse Harrington’s BARBADOS ran fourth in the G1 Irish St Leger and the fight will be interesting in the ground.
CALL THE WIND win – BARBADOS – e/w
NOTEBOOK SAYS: THEOTHERSIDE has been the subject of chatter on her return to 7f. Newmarket 4.30
1:15 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) (Group 1) (2yo C&F) (New Course: 2nd Post) (Turf) (2yo) 7f
Aidan O’Brien could take this with WEMBLEY, an opinion formed when rewatching his National Stakes second to Thunder Moon in the National Stakes, a truly messy race at the Curragh. He was out the back 2f from home but got bumped when he started to make his run. That last 1½f was never in doubt and in the main, one gets the feeling that the Ballydoyle 2yos have all been in some sort of lockdown and are therefore a bit backward. Aidan also runs ST MARK’S BASILICA who was third in The National but looked as though he was being a bit reticent. He ran on one-paced and it was hard to tell what was going on inside his head – but something was. Clive Cox is also optimistic of his NANDO PARRADO, (is that some sort of fast food?). Coventry winner and 2l second in the Morny in the Soft, local chatter is all over him like a bad rash.
1:50 Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac – Criterium des Pouliches (Group 1) (2yo Fillies) (Grande Course) (Turf) (2yo) 1m
FEV ROVER wasn’t an expensive purchase has won his last two races, the first at Sandown beating Dubai Fountain and star of Emaaraty (won the Sweet Solera since), and then taking The Prix Calvados G2 at Deauville – by 5 lengths. Second and third then promptly stepped out, each winning a G3. This is very solid form.
FEV ROVER win
3:05 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Group 1) (3yo+) (Grande Course) (No Geldings) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m4f
This year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is promising to be one of the best of its distinguished history. I cannot honestly recall an Arc which has engendered so much hope, opinion, and discussion. With LOVE a non-runner the entire news focus will switch to the ENABLE hat-trick and another Frankie seven-timer story, with further stories around STRADIVARIUS, the supplementing of SERPENTINE, the hopes of JAPAN and SOTTSASS owner Peter Brant, who tried so hard to win the race with Triptych.
These are my thoughts.
1 PERSIAN KING
He won the Poulains last year (French 2000 Gns) on Heavy. His entraineur, Andre Fabre is a genius – but in the last 21 years only won winner made their 12f debut on the day. Indeed trying to do it in these conditions from this draw, makes him a NoNo.
2 ROYAL JULIUS
Has slow ground form. So what.
3 WAY TO PARIS
He’s seven. The last seven-year-old to win the Arc only turned up because he couldn’t get on board the Ark. He might however make a fourth-place if your bookie pays out that far.
Yes, he was beaten 4 lengths in Arc last year. Yes, he has lost his last four races – including a spanking by ENABLE in the King George. However, three of his five victories have been on the soft or worse ground, and Yutaka Take has taken the ride. There is some muttering that he is nailed in for a podium
Won the Irish Derby by accident. Has some Galway soft form, again so what.
He is 14/16 over 14f or further, but if you rewatch the Prix Foy LTO over 12f (LTO) you suddenly think that this tenacious battler hasn’t forgotten where his gears are. He beat Nayef Road by 10l on Soft ground in June in the Gold Cup at Ascot, picking up his highest ever RF figure and a 125 OR. However, the eye-catching detail was how relaxed he looked, so what can go wrong? The answer sadly is his jockey, Olivier Peslier, who I indeed hope has sat down with Havlin or Frankie and said: “Tell me how to ride him”. Time after time we’ve seen the Strad appear to switch-off, and you need to keep him up to his work. OP might get his tactics wrong and screw-up a guaranteed podium.
Jean-Claude Rouget is very confident that his third last year can take this. He was 4th in the Irish Champion Stakes and has the ability, and he has been aimed at this. I cannot detect any marked difference in his performances this year. He’s a Hmmm in my notebook
It is impossible to carp her successes to date, her ability and natural talent. Connections suggested she lost the race last year because of the ground. Tosh, it was two grinding races at Ascot and York, and she had come off the boil. The trainer has given her a more manageable schedule this year – not kid gloves by any means, but certainly not a punishing diary. However, she will need to be at her absolute best for this, and I suspect that a slog from off the bend will see her caught 200 yards from home.
I have always had her down as a hoof rattler, and yes I know she was a 3l third in The Champion Stakes last year on Soft, but this is tougher, and it will be softer. Nothing this year to suggest this is hers for the taking.
10 GOLD TRIP
Third in The Grand Prix de Paris. Won a G2 on soft this summer, but just don’t see it. No
12 IN SWOOP
Just four races to date, including a German Derby, and a second to MOGUL in the Grand Prix de Paris. He likes soft ground, and he’ll like this race. The bookies are terrified of him. I have him for 14s, but 10s is too short… unless he wins.
With LOVE out, Ryan Moore takes the ride, as he has done for three of his four victories. Not many miles on the clock and Aidan O’Brien believes he is a late developer. He’s a longer price than IN SWOOP, which suggests that it is very testing ground that could become the problem.
There are two versions of SERPENTINE thinking
OPTION ONE – I really don’t understand the supplementation. Didn’t like the ground when he was a baby, and albeit he’ll be kept up to the pace, he was well held LTO by MOGUL. I wouldn’t back him with yours at 50s.
OPTION TWO – AoB wouldn’t be sending SERPENTINE here if he hadn’t seen something at home and The Derby winner looked a giant in Grand Prix de Paris and had he been kept off the pace would have run better. 14/1 is too big and he looks value.
In a world gone mad, it is just conceivable that Rouget might have a 1-2 with this one and SOTTSASS. Both in the first five is much more believable. Won a Longchamp Listed in May, and the 4th to Fancy Blue in the Prix de Diane. Won a G3 at Deauville and was then 2nd to Tarnawa over C&D in the Prix Vermeille. No ground form, but progressive.
RAABIHAH e/w – SOTTSASS e/w – add SERPENTINE and IN SWOOP for a chancy 12 x ¼pt CFC.
3:50 Prix de l’Opera Longines (Group 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Grande Course) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m2f
Originally the all-Irish front three in the Prix Diane, FANCY BLUE, ALPINE STAR and Peaceful were due to have a good old ding-dong here, alongside Dermot Weld’s Prix Vermeille winner TARNAWA. I think they’re pretty evenly matched, so the ability to handle bottomless ground is going to be crucial. I have concerns on that front for Rouget’s TAWKEEL, who didn’t appear entirely at ease in the mud at Deauville LTO in the Prix de la Nonette. He won by a ½l, but looked really unhappy. It could be argued that the ground for the Jacques La Marois cost ALPINE STAR the race – or it could have been simply that Palace Pier was a better horse, or perhaps she prefers a mile. FANCY BLUE could be a tough nut to crack in this, coming back to 10f having been beaten over 8f in the Matron Stakes. She won a soft ground Listed contest as a juvenile so she should handle this deep ground and over this distance, she could regain the winning thread. Prix Corrida winner AMBITION will love the ground and the Dubawi filly looks value for a podium.
FANCY BLUE win
4:25 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines (Group 1) (2yo+) (Sprint Course) (Turf) (2yo+) 5f
If you owned BATTASH your head would have sunk as the heavens opened, and you remembered how he looked as though he were drowning in the mud twelve months ago. Nothing has changed – sadly – and so he no longer appears. GLASS SLIPPERS who won this last year has always been an autumn horse and is a threat, but MAKE A CHALLENGE caught my eye when a 2l fifth to GLASS SLIPPER in the Flying Five Stakes LTO. He was drawn the wrong side and the ground was faster than ideal, and he can overturn that form. AIR DE VALSE took a G3 over C&D LTO and has been in terrific form this season apart from one disappointment at Chantilly in June and in her last race she successfully repelled all rivals, producing her best performance to date. She was 16s as a wrote this and I think that’s a fab price.
MAKE A CHALLENGE win – AIR DE VALSE e/w
4:55 Qatar Prix de la Foret (Group 1) (3yo+) (New Course: 2nd Post) (Turf) (3yo+) 7f
ONE MASTER will love this ground and she will be seeking her hat-trick in this race. So far this year she has chased home Donjuan Triumphant in heavy ground at Ascot, Safe Voyage in the City of York, and Wichita in the Park Stakes on ground that was faster than anticipated. She also won The Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood again on ground that was faster than ideal, but then the race was run at a very muddling pace, which probably helped her cause. EARTHLIGHT and SAFE VOYAGE are the obvious threats and the latter appears fancied.
ONE MASTER win