BILL ESDAILE WITH HIS BEST BETS AT ASCOT AND LONGCHAMP THIS WEEKEND EEKEND
SUNDAY’S Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (3.30pm) looks one of the most open renewals in a long time. Ante-post favourites have flip-flopped as often as pancakes on Shrove Tuesday in recent months, and it’s no certainty Taghrooda will start as the jolly come post time.
The Epsom Oaks and King George winner lost her unbeaten record in the Yorkshire Oaks and it’s easy to pick holes in her form. John Gosden’s charge may regain the winning thread, but it’s difficult to understand why she’s 5/1 and the horse that beat her last time, TAPESTRY, is 14/1.
Coolmore have always thought a lot of this daughter of Galileo. She went off favourite for the 1000 Guineas and bounced back from a poor run there, and a moderate one at Ascot next time, to finish second in the Irish Oaks. Her saddle slipped then, which probably cost her the race.
Surprisingly dropped back to a mile on QIPCO Irish Champions Weekend after beating Taghrooda, finishing ninth there is easily forgivable. The fact connections have stumped up €120,000 to supplement her suggests they are expecting a bold bid.
Ryan Moore will ride and fillies have won four of the last six runnings of this €5 million contest, with the Classic generation responsible for three.
The Arc has become an obsession for the racing-mad Japanese public after heartbreak with the likes of El Condor Paso, Nakayama Festa and Orfevre. They arrive with their strongest squad this year and HARP STAR at 8/1 is the pick of their trio.
She won the Japanese 100 Guineas and should have won the Oaks, but was given too much to do. Providing her jockey doesn’t overdo the hold-up tactics, her potent turn of foot should see her go very close.
Brilliant Dubai Duty Free winner Just A Way has never won over 1m 4f and has had a strange preparation. Gold Ship is too unpredictable.
I like the seven-timer seeking Ectot, but can’t bring myself to back a horse that was 50/1 a few weeks ago and who could likely go off favourite.
The Prix Marcel Boussac (1.35pm) is open too. Malabar was over-priced at 10/1 but that price has gone now. Jessica Harrington is a great trainer under both codes and her JACK NAYLOR looks progressive.
This is a big step up against others with Group One form, but her price of 6/1 reflects that.
The Wow Signal will be popular for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (2.10pm), but a combination of the step up in trip for John Quinn’s unbeaten colt and the possibility of a tactical race makes me wary of taking a short price.
FULL MAST looks a fantastic each-way bet to nothing at 7/1 with Paddy Power. A course and distance winner from the front in a Group Three last time, he looks smart.
I thought KARAKONTIE would be far shorter in the Prix de la Foret (4.50pm) over seven furlongs. The Bernstein colt won the 2013 Lagardere and the 8/1 is too big for a horse who has only finished outside the top two once, when not staying the French Derby trip.
The five-furlong dash that opens the card, the Prix de l’Abbaye, has a huge draw bias, so I’ll post my thoughts on Twitter when the draw comes out later this morning.
At Ascot tomorrow, AMERICAN HOPE has proven course form and looks the one to side with in the ultra-competitive Challenge Cup (3.50pm). First home on the far side in the Britannia earlier in the season, and second again in a good handicap back in Berkshire next time, the drop back to seven furlongs looks sure to suit. He’s generally 8/1.
MUTHMIR would surely have gone close in the Abbaye and should win the opener (2.05pm), but will be priced accordingly.
MUTHMIR 2.05pm Ascot (tomorrow)
AMERICAN HOPE e/w 3.50pm Ascot (tomorrow)
JACK NAYLOR e/w 1.35pm Longchamp (Sunday)
FULL MAST e/w 2.10pm Longchamp (Sunday)
HARP STAR e/w 3.30pm Longchamp (Sunday)
TAPESTRY e/w 3.50pm Longchamp (Sunday)
KARAKONTIE e/w 4.50pm Longchamp (Sunday)