1.10 Chantilly – Prix Marcel Boussac
Polydream is potentially a very smart filly and Freddy Head’s daughter of Oasis Dream could well be top class. Her victory at Deauville in August looks strong after the second, Laurens, won the May Hill at Doncaster and she is the one to beat. This looks an above average renewal with Ballydoyle sending over Magical who sets the standard on her Moyglare second. She will likely be able to dictate things from the front and be a tough nut to crack. Soustraction and Charlie Appleby’s Wild Illusion lock horns again with Soustraction looking the pick, though both need to improve to challenge Magical and Polydream. Zonza steps up markedly in trip and is talented while improvement is also required for Mission Impassable and Narella, though it is not beyond the realms of impossibility for either to take a hand in what is a very competitive race.
1.45 Chantilly – Prix Jean-Luc Legardere
We could see similar tactics to the first race with Ryan Moore likely to try to dominate from the front. Aiden O’Brien has made a bold move of throwing Happily in against the colts and she sets the standard on Quickened Clear’s ratings. Her form is closely linked to Magical so it will be interesting to see how her stablemate runs in the Prix Marcel Boussac at 1.10 but she looks another talented filly in the Ballydoyle ranks. Masar is the pick of the Godolphin entries but with softer ground likely it would not be a surprise to see him a non runner as he was pulled from his debut at York on good to soft but if taking his place deserves plenty of respect. Charlie Appleby’s other contender, Mythical Magic, who has ran well in France before needs to improve on his performance in the Champagne Stakes to be involved here. Olmedo looks the main threat from the home team after just failing to reel in Stage Magic over course and distance last time. He should improve again and could be the value against the British and Irish raiders. At a bigger price Francesco Bere is not without a chance but needs to find more improvement.
3.05 Chantilly – Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
This race is all about John Gosden’s star filly Enable. Unbeaten since winning the Cheshire Oaks in May, this daughter of Nathaniel has added both the English and Irish Oaks, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and most recently the Yorkshire Oaks to her impressive profile. Her finest hour came when defeating Ulysses in the King George back in July at Ascot, putting four and a half lengths comfortably between them. That form was later strengthened by Ulysses who went on to win the Juddmonte International at York accounting for Barney Roy and Churchill. With wins on good to soft and fast ground she should handle softer conditions usually doing her best work at the end of races suggesting testing ground will hold no fears.
Ulysses brings strong credentials as mentioned previously and has done nothing but progress this year yet does need to convince over this distance at group one level, that said he is a strong traveller and the likely fast pace should suit him though testing ground may not. Enable and Ulysess represent a strong two pronged British attack on the French showpiece and there is also a typically elite contingent travelling over from the Emerald Isle.
The Ballydoyle battalions have a host of potential runners to choose from including 2016 third Order Of St George who again has place claims but will likely be outpaced at a trip slightly short of his best though heavy ground could make him a player. Idaho is similar in that he will be doing his best work at the finish and also has place claims while Seventh Heaven prefers quicker conditions. The more interesting of Aiden O’Brien’s challengers are Winter and Capri. Winter, another classy filly, proved that soft ground and ten furlongs are no problem for her and though this is another step up in trip, one cannot rule her out. She is defying her pedigree somewhat, out of Laddies Poker Two, a fair sprinter by Choisir, also a sprinter, the stamina seems to be coming from her sire, the mighty Galileo. It is a leap of faith to back her with the trip an unknown but like Enable, she does receive the three year old fillies’ allowance which gives her a fighting chance on the ratings. St Leger winners are not known for their victories in the Arc but Capri, also an Irish Derby winner, was successful in what looked a strong race at Doncaster and like Winter, could put up some value against Enable.
The French challenge looks a little weak this year with Cloth Of Stars and Zarak similar in ability but likely not good enough to win this. Closely matched on their neck finish in the Prix Ganay back in May, both are talented horses without being superstars and a placed finish looks the best they can hope for. A more interesting contender from the home guard is Jean-Claude Rouget’s Brametot, a dual group one winner who needs to bounce back after a disappointing effort at Deauville. The way he finished his race in the Prix Du Jockey Club, aligned with his dam, a half-sister to Monsun, gives us every reason to believe he will stay a mile and a half and offers another value alternative to the favourite.
Progressive German representative Dschingis Secret certainly has claims and recent form reads well with some useful scalps to his name, not least Godolphin’s Hawkbill and Cloth Of Stars. With soft ground and any more rain a plus, he can take a hand in this. Winning this illustrious group one seems beyond the rest of the field while the Japanese raiders, who love taking aim at this race look way short of what is needed to figure in a race of this quality.
3.50 Chantilly – Prix de l’Opera
A wide open race with numerous in with chances. With Hydrangea not suited by conditions Ballydoyle’s main hope is Rhododendron. A winner on softer ground as a two year old before a second to Winter in the Guineas and then Enable in the Oaks, Rhododendron is a classy filly but bled when pulled up at Chantilly in June, which is a worry. She returned with a fair effort in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown and if Aiden O’Brien has her at peak fitness she has to be considered. Lacazar is an interesting runner for Germany with the strength of her Oaks win at Dusseldorf, where she had Godolphin’s Wuheida behind her, looking fairly strong. She should not be ruled out. Senga, who took the Prix de Diane over course and distance would have a big chance in the unlikely event of good ground as both her starts on softer have been below par, with the same applying to Queen’s Trust and Left Hand who would both like drying conditions. Onthemoonagain, who fell in the Prix de Diane when travelling well, may need further than this but should be doing her best work at the finish while Shamreen should benefit from conditions and could go well from the front for Dermot Weld. At a bigger price is The Black Princess who can be forgiven her run last time, has some fair form to her name and is a course and distance winner.
4.35 Chantilly – Prix de l’Abbaye
A fast and furious five furlong dash which can often throw an outsider up at a price. Battash and Marsha look the main two protagonists on form but one can pick holes in their credentials. Marsha, gave a huge effort to collar Lady Aurelia on the line at York in the Nunthorpe and it is another big ask for this filly to reproduce or better that performance. That said she is the best horse in the race on ratings and won this last year. Battash threw his chance away at York, getting worked up in the preliminaries when fancied to go close and he has to overcome an intense atmosphere in Chantilly, not to mention the travelling he has done prior, though he is a top class sprinter on his day. Signs Of Blessing will love softer conditions and warmed up well defeating solid yardstick Finsbury Square at Deauville, he could capitalise on any below par runs from the favourites. Finsbury Square along with Son Cesio and Duke Of Firenze ran well in this last year so it is reasonable to expect good performances again form the trio and they all have place claims. Profitable is a quality sprinter on his day given soft ground and has the ability to win this while Alphabet has been second to the top class Caravaggio and Quiet Reflection on her last two starts and could go well on ground she will like.
5.15 Chantilly – Prix de la Foret
Acclaim has improved with age and his victory in the Park Stakes at Doncaster, against some good types, was done in a manner of a top class seven furlong horse. His form is tied in with Brando who defeated him in the Prix Maurice de Gheest but Brando ran no sort of race last time at Haydock and the fact he bled earlier in the season at York causes concern about producing consistent performances. That said he is more than capable of winning this on his day. The main French defence consists of Zelzal and Karar. Zelzal has not reproduced the form of his impressive early three year old career, drops back to seven furlongs and is probably best watched on ground softer than ideal though jockey Gregory Benoist chooses him over Karar. Karar, gelded in August, made a winning return over course and distance showing improved form. Second in this race to Limato last year when attempting to make all, a similar scenario is likely to unfold and he rates a serious threat to Acclaim if allowed free reign. The main Godolphin representative Toscanini, is one who could spring a surprise after flashing home over this trip at York and is a talented horse but would not want the ground too soft while fellow British raiders Realtra and So Beloved are not without a chance.