I was delighted when the Betting Directory team invited me to have a weekly look at the best of the weekend’s racing action, and over the coming months let’s try and find a winner or two as the Flat season reaches its climax and the new Jumping campaign moves through the gears.
What a weekend it is to get started!
The bookmakers fear a bashing of 1997 proportions when Pasternak and Peintre Celebre landed a Cambridgeshire/Arc De Triomphe big race favourites double, and they’re keeping everything crossed that it won‘t be more of the same over the next 48 hours.
We’ll kick-off with the totesport.com Cambridgeshire, where Luca Cumani’s Swop has been popular since the defection of stablemate Presvis.
Trained to the minute this lightly raced five-year-old has never been out of the frame in five racecourse appearances, but at a general current price of 13/2 in a field of 35, and jumping from stall 2 (100/1 rag Spanish Don is the only horse to win from a single-figure draw in the last decade), it could pay to shop around.
Masters Of Arts is another who will also be in-demand as punters seize upon the opportunity to back an improver from the stable of the handicap king Sir Mark Prescott, successful in the Cambridgeshire in 1988 with Quinlan Terry, 1997 with Pasternak and in 2003 with Chivalry. Ladbrokes currently offer the best odds at 16/1.
They were going loco for Premio Loco wen he sluiced up at Kempton last time, but he’s a highly strung type who could well boil over on his big day
Whoever prevails will need plenty of luck in-running, and one candidate who especially appeals to me is the streetwise three-year-old Yaddree for the Michael Jarvis team.
Carrying a 4lb penalty for beating a 115-rated rival in a cracker at Newbury a fortnight ago, when he returned from a break which clearly did him the world of good, this sturdy son of Singspiel has no stamina doubts and will love the ground.
He put in a couple of cracking efforts at Ascot earlier in the season, and also got his nose in front over a mile at Newmarket in May.
What’s more the word on the street is that Yaddree, generally a 10/1 shot with with most bookmakers, is working the house down to the delight of his shrewd trainer.
Of the bigger priced contenders Sir Michael Stoute could well snag some place money with Lang Shining who could well be over-priced at 25/1 with Coral, and is my idea of an each way saver at a value price.
Off the boil since running a fine second to Mia’s Boy (who re-opposes) in the Hambleton Stakes at York in May, Lang Shining (drawn somewhere in deepest Cambridgeshire in 35) was back to something like his old self when a fine second to Ask The Butler at Sandown Park last time over 1m 2f.
The handicapper responded accordingly, slapping the Stoute inmate with a 6lb rise in the weights, but with Ryan Moore up top he could well make the frame at an inflated price.
As ever, shop around to make the best of the firms prepared to pay you those crucial extra places in the big field handicaps, it all helps!
Earlier on the card the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes should provide the ideal platform for French raider Darjina to smash a run of seconds.
She had Paco Boy (favourite for the Prix de la Foret) and dual Guineas winner Henrythenavigator in her wake when chasing home Goldikova in Longchamp’s Prix Du Moulin last time out, and with Lush Lashes by-passing the race in favour of the Opera, Alain de Royer-Dupre’s filly can get on the scoresheet here at forecast odds of around 9/4.
By the time they’re run the Cambridgeshire my thoughts will be turning to Pastiche, the Paris-Mutuel, praying the Eurostar isn’t delayed for too long, and of course the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
There are many finer things in life than benefitting from Paris’s brilliant free Metro system, a slap-up breakfast in the Café de Cambronne, and a sun-drenched stroll down the Bois de Boulogne to enjoy a stellar afternoon’s racing simply crammed with Group 1’s.
The gobby turfistes and the rowdy Brits, all desperate to walk out of there in a few hours time, heads held high having got a few in the net against ‘them’.
If you’ve never been, the advice is simple; go. Don’t bother packing your drinking legs, you’d be better advised to take along a reservoir-cum-septic tank.
Anyway, back to the racing, and a feature race dripping with high-class challengers, and the potential to be the best Arc for years.
A devastating performance in Longchamp’s Prix Vermeille three weeks ago saw Zarkava rocket to the front of the market, and with several firms reporting four and five figure bets in recent days, it’s easy to see why the Aga Khan’s filly has set tongues wagging.
Unbeaten in six races, having also landed the Prix de Diane and the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches earlier this season, Zarkava boasts a tall reputation, but nonetheless I’m keen to take her on.
Sure she might turn out to be a superstar, but I’d rather spend my wedding night under a Liverpool FC duvet cover than spend my last few quid on a filly as short as 7/4 with Paddypower, when you stop to consider the following:
Much has been made of the way she dwelt in the stalls in the Vermeille, losing an estimated 6 lengths at the start, then racing lazily in the early stages, before recovering to record a visually impressive victory.
Racing against both the colts and the older horses for the first time she simply won’t get time to play the fool or doze off against these classy opponents.
Furthermore, Willie Carson made a good point on the BBC last weekend; is something causing to react? Is she in some sort of physical pain or discomfort throughout the race? Have a look at the replays of the Vermeille and watch her tail carriage. He might have a point, and if she did have say a back problem niggling her, it doesn’t bode well.
Count also the fact that only two fillies (All Along 1983 and Urban Sea 1993) in 25 years have been successful in the Arc, and it might pay to have a good scour through the opposition.
For me she’s a lay at the price on Betfair .
The forecast rain will definitely benefit Soldier Of Fortune, but it will hinder Ballydoyle stablemate Duke Of Marmalade, off the back of a gruelling campaign which has already yielded five Group 1 wins.
However, Soldier Of Fortune wasn’t good enough in this race last year, and also had to give best to Youmzain in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on his last appearance back in June.
Youmzain must have another great each way chance, but the decision by connections to replace Richard Hughes, described by Luca Cumani earlier this week as “riding like a demon” with Richard Hills is baffling, and can’t improve the likeable five-year-old’s chances.
The one I think we should be having a few quid on is another of the trials winners Vision D’Etat. Also unbeaten in six starts and also a three-year-old, the stats surrounding Prix Niel runners in the Arc are compelling, indeed they’ve provided the winner a whopping 10 of the last 13 times Niel participants have gone on to contest the October showpiece.
And here’s another stat for you: three-year olds have provided 11 of the last 14 winners. Fancy a bit of 8/1 each way? Snap it up before it’s gone with any of VCBet, Ladbrokes.com and Bet365.
Our selection won the French Derby, enjoyed a bit of summer holiday and was then bought back to concert pitch to take the Niel. A bargain buy at €39,000, Vision D’Etat is a half brother to Milan Deux Mille. Yep, the same one who finished 15th and last in this year’s Grand National! But don’t let that put you off.
While you’re at it take a bit of insurance out and have a fiver each way on Papal Bull. Jimmy Fortune could be in for quite a weekend with rides in Canada and France, and he’s come in for a juicy spare ride on a talented but quirky customer who put the wind up Duke Of Marmalade in the King George, and could well be the type to run into a place at a big price.
Elsewhere on the card, don’t go to the fridge until you’ve had a close look at Andre Fabre’s filly Treat Gently in the Prix de l’Opera. She put in a great shift in the Vermeille, and could reward each way backers at a tasty price.
Finally, if you’ve got a few quid to play up from the weekend, have a bit each way on Mount Helicon for the Triumph Hurdle. Word reaches me that the French import, twice a winner on the Flat, could be a bit handy, and at 33/1 with Stan James he could be a handy investment to file away as we countdown the winter months to the Cheltenham Festival.
This week’s advice
Saturday 4th October
3.15 Newmarket – back Darjina to win
3.50 Newmarket – back Yaddree (e/w)
3.50 Newmarket – back Lang Shining (e/w)
Sunday 5th october
3.00 Longchamp back Treat Gently (e/w)
3.40 Longchamp back Vision D’Etat (e/w)
3.40 Loncchamp back Papal Bull (e/w)
Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
Triump Hurdle back Mount Helicon (e/w 33/1)