Former Talksport presenter Charlie McCann previews Saturday’s and Sunday’s cards at Newmarket and Longchamp with six to follow.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which is run at Longchamp tomorrow is, arguably, the most prestigious flat race run in Europe and one which has been won by some of the sports greats including Sea Bird and Dancing Brave and more recently Zarkava and last year Sea The Stars. Three year-olds have won six of the last seven renewals and thirteen of the last sixteen and although some will pundits will suggest the forecast soft ground will play to the strength of the older horses I can’t have it I’m afraid.
The Derby winner Workforce was only given the green light on Thursday morning and is reluctantly overlooked for that reason only. He looked a real champion when winning at Epsom in record time but went out like a light behind stablemate Harbinger in the King George the following month and has been off the track since.
Sir Michael Stoute has yet to saddle the winner of the Arc and I am reluctant to desert the Derby winner who did us such a favour back in June. Yet to race on soft ground Workforce is bred to appreciate the forecast rain that is due to hit Paris today but his preparation is less than ideal and it will be one of Stoute’s greatest ever training performances if he can coax another brilliant performance out of Workforce.
The French Derby winner Lope De Vega wouldn’t stay a mile-and-a-half in a horsebox and the two to concentrate on are Planteur (3.05) and Behkabad with marginal preference for the former despite narrowly losing out to the latter on his last couple of starts. I feel there is more to come from Planteur although he is not a strong recommendation in what is hardly a vintage renewal.
The Cambridgeshire is the big betting race of the day and StanJames.com will be offering ¼ odds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 places. John Gosden has saddled the winner of the first leg of the autumn double in two of the last three years and his Nationalism (3.40) did us a favour at Goodwood three weeks ago and he looks to have a very similar profile to Pipedreamer who won the corresponding race for the stable three years ago.
The forecast soft ground certainly won’t inconvenience this son of Pivotal who will be only having his fifth start. He is drawn in stall three and I have also supported Emirates Dream in stall 29 just in case there is a bias to those drawn on the far side of the Rowley Mile. Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner of the big betting race of the weekend courtesy of Redford for the last couple of weeks and Godolphin may have found the key to Emirates Dream when they dropped him back to a mile last time. He has been backed from 33s to 14s in recent days and is worth a saver.
Cambridgeshire (place terms: 1/4 the first 5); prices from StanJames.com
11 Ransom Note
11 Start Right
14 Emirates Dream
16 Set The Trend
16 High Twelve
Together (1.55) ought to get favourite backers off to a flying start in the valuable sales race which opens the card given she was only just touched off in group 1 company at Ascot last weekend. The drop back to 7f is a concern but she does look different class.
Emerald Commander (4.25) is penalised for his recent win in Germany but he is the sporting selection in the finale at Longchamp today. Soft ground is ideal and the more rain the better although he does have a poor record for today’s jockey. Sweet Hearth is blinkered for the first time and is the best of the home challenge; she looks the one to beat on her second in last year’s Prix Foret but she has not quite been herself so far this season.
There are three interesting jump cards on Sunday and one of my horses to follow for the season Any Given Day (4.15) runs at Kelso. Under normal circumstances he would warrant nap material but his wonderful trainer Donald McCain is surely using the race as a sighter to see whether or not the grey will stay a trip in excess of two-and-a-half-miles. A winner over 12f on the level he didn’t quite get home over 2m 5f at Newbury last Xmas although that was on desperate winter ground. If the ground is no worse than good to soft his class ought to prevail.