Friday 29 October 2021

Friday 29th & Saturday 30th October 2021: Raffles the Prize Ticket in Charlie Hall Chase

We’ve got an exciting mix of Flat and National Hunt action this weekend, as the Charlie Hall Chase and the Bateaux London Gold Cup highlight the jumps action.

Newmarket hosts its popular ‘Final Meeting’ on the level providing one last chance for a few horses to grab some Listed glory too, and it’s in Suffolk where we start with Friday’s action and a fine juvenile fillies’ sprint race.

Friday 29th October 2021

2.30 Newmarket (Bosra Sham Fillies’ Stakes – Listed Race) – BENEFIT

As a sprinter trained by Clive Cox, owned by Cheveley Park, ridden by Ryan Moore and with a 2-from-2 record, you’d expect Acclamation daughter Benefit to be a strong favourite.

Instead, she’s behind the experienced Desert Dreamer in the market, but she has more than enough going for her to justify a bet.

A closer look at her form and that of the horses she’s beaten makes her profile look very strong, she’s been winning with plenty in hand, has tons more progression to come and is in the right hands.

3.15 Wetherby (Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle – Listed Race) – PORTICELLO

It goes without saying that three-year-old hurdlers can be hard to assess, but in Porticello Gary Moore has a horse that could run into the 130’s based on his form with others, making him the likely strongest horse in this line-up even giving away weight.

Too Friendly and Oceanline have solid form together, but neither looks likely to reach Porticello just at this stage. Sacre Pierre needs to improve quickly.

3.40 Newmarket (Handicap) – NEPTUNE SEAS

Fireworks is well drawn for William Haggas and is usually strongly backed, while Godolphin’s Moving Light is very solid if improving as expected from his all-weather run.

Their apparent second choice however looks the one to be on. Charlie Appleby’s Neptune Seas ran in similar conditions when beating Jasmine Joy in good style in August, that filly winning well since.

He was also favourite to beat Moshaawer and led the market again in an Epsom handicap over the extended mile, but as a son of Sea The Stars he probably needs this mile-and-a-quarter and he can resume his progression now under James Doyle.

7.30 Kempton (Handicap) – RUN TO FREEDOM

Henry Candy’s Run To Freedom won nicely over the course and distance last time, but pulled a little behind a slow enough pace.

Here, Enduring will surely want the lead but could be challenged by Corinthia Knight, meaning a much stronger pace is likely which Run To Freedom can sit behind and pounce on when it counts. Mishal Star may end up being the biggest danger.

Saturday 30th October 2021

1.48 Newmarket (Nursery Handicap) – SPINAROUND

There are a number of runners far from guaranteed to want the nine-furlong trip at this stage of their careers, and on breeding you’d have thought the Gosdens’ Spinaround would be one of them.

However, this big improver by Kodiac just got better and better the further he went at this track over seven furlongs in September and much more is expected now. Frankie Dettori is on hand to ride, his only planned mount of the day.

New Mission is a likely type, while Teddy’s Profit can improve to run a place also while Lawful Command probably wants it softer underneath.

2.23 Newmarket (Handicap) – NOBLE DYNASTY

Greatgadian threatens to win a nice race and State Occasion will have to be watched, but Godolphin’s Noble Dynasty has always been well regarded.

A look at his form with the likes of Modern News and Rifleman makes him look better than his mark of 95 and he can go some way to proving that here.

2.58 Newmarket (Montrose Fillies’ Stakes – Listed Race) – WITH THE MOONLIGHT

This isn’t the deepest Listed race overall, so while the likes of Oheka, Siamsa and Almohandesah have talent they should prove to be vulnerable.

Ed Walker’s Kawida has run three solid races in and around the early 80’s in terms of a handicap mark, but that doesn’t tell her full story. She was a very easy winner last time and on a line through some of the horses she’s beaten, she can prove to be more like a 95 filly which gives her a strong chance here.

Better than that arguably however is hat-trick seeker With The Moonlight. Charlie Appleby’s Frankel filly has shown steep improvement between races so far and she can climb another rung up the ladder today.

She was an easy winner at Wolverhampton last time and, on breeding, eight furlongs up the Rowley Mile should bring the best out of her.

3.05 Wetherby (Charlie Hall Chase – Grade 2) – FUSIL RAFFLES

As a top Grade 2 chase over three miles, many look to the Charlie Hall as a potential early Gold Cup trial.

There are some top names here too, but last year’s winner Cyrname is arguably regressing overall and has to give away weight this time.

Clondaw Castle’s best run was on a flat three miles on good ground which is encouraging, but he needs to improve, while Shan Blue isn’t always at his best first time out for the year.

Fusil Raffles is the interesting one at the prices for Nicky Henderson. A strong traveller, natural progression makes him very competitive here at the weights given his most recent form and potential, so as long as he stays the trip, he may grab a big win.

3.20 Ascot (Bateaux London Gold Cup Handicap Chase – Grade 3) – SOJOURN 

Another big three-mile chase is this competitive handicap at Ascot. Vinndication is class but has a lot of weight to carry, Johnbb may or may not stay and One More Fleurie is pitched in deeper but is getting better all the time.

Sojourn however has some top form and hasn’t reached his peak yet. There is plenty in the eight-year-old’s favour and he may be even better after a recent breathing operation.

3.33 Newmarket (James Seymour Stakes – Listed Race) – BAY BRIDGE

Although there’s precious little between this whole quintet on official ratings, in reality Sir Michael Stoute’s Bay Bridge could be head and shoulders above them and may finish the season unbeaten after wins at Newcastle, Newbury and York.

4.08 Newmarket (Ben Marshall Stakes – Listed Race) – ZAKOUSKI

Zakouski, already a winner of this event on heavy ground last season, has had his troubles but he is very classy.

He’s better than a Listed horse, no doubt at all, and runs so well fresh that his not having been seen since winning a Group 2 in Dubai in February doesn’t bother me at all. Dante’s Pass is the main danger as long as he handles the drier ground, with Jadoomiu third choice.

Friday 22 October 2021

Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th October 2021: Don’t Miss Carol Ann at Newbury

We’ve reached that part of the season during which the worlds of Flat and National Hunt racing collide. There is some fine action at Cheltenham and Aintree over the jumps, while there is Group 1 activity across three countries for us to get stuck into on the level.

Saturday 23rd October 2021

7.10 Moonee Valley (Cox Plate – Group 1) – PROBABEEL

We have an early start on Saturday once again as Australia’s huge $5 million Cox Plate gets the show underway at Moonee Valley.

In an often-tricky contest to handicap, especially given that there are both Northern and Southern Hemisphere-bred horses on show, I’ve taken real and exact ages into account when assessing the runners.

Godolphin’s Anamoe for example, the second-favourite here, gets lumps of weight and comes into the race on the back of a win in the Caulfield Guineas. He’s not yet three years old however and over this trip may find things very tough against the older horses.

Favourite Zaaki was never a Group 1 horse in Europe, a subject always controversial for Australian fans, though he did win well for Annabel Neasham in the Underwood Stakes in September when beating Probabeel.

Probabeel turned the tables the last time they faced off and the son of a former Cox Plate winner has a great chance at the weights to confirm the form at a very nice price.

Verry Elleegant is often exposed these days at the top level despite her past exploits, while Joseph O’Brien’s State Of Rest has plenty to do and star former French runner Gold Trip is now a non-runner.

1.33 Saint-Cloud (Criterium de Saint-Cloud – Group 1) – GOLDSPUR

Charlie Appleby has had a stunning season and the British champion trainer-elect still has time to land more Group 1 races in France and America before the year is out.

His Goldspur was a very impressive winner on debut at Sandown over a mile on soft ground. That was an excellent staying performance, and the yard attempted to sneak into the Derby for free by winning at Epsom a short time later but the son of Dubawi was withdrawn at the start there.

He then came out over this mile-and-a-quarter trip in the Zetland at Newmarket, fighting on to get the best of a bobbing three-way finish with Unconquerable and Hafit.

He can take another step forward in this race, is proven over the trip and on softer ground and could yet make up into a classic horse for next season. Stone Age, El Bodegon and the aforementioned Unconquerable are probably the main threats.

3.10 Newbury (Radley Stakes – Listed Race) – MISS CAROL ANN

It’s gone heavy at Newbury and that may lead to a few funny results, but there is confidence behind Roger Varian’s Miss Carol Ann.

She was a very good winner of her debut race at Newmarket in September, and the team have been patient with her since then.

That result was achieved on fast ground, but plenty of the better Kingman progeny including Palace Pier, King Of Comedy, Persian King, Roseman and others have gone well on soft ground so there are no real concerns in that regard.

Jumbly has been solid and can go well again, while Eidikos has more to offer too.

3.15 Doncaster (Vertem Futurity Trophy – Group 1) – BAYSIDE BOY

Although the selection of Bayside Boy is based on genuine form factors, we can afford to take a risk anyway at around 4/1 given that Aidan O’Brien’s Luxembourg is dominating the market and will potentially go off at odds-on.

For his part Luxembourg has done nothing wrong so far. He’s won both of his starts in Ireland, including in a Group 2, but it’s hard to assess how much more there is to come from him.

At a similar level is Roger Varian’s Bayside Boy which makes him a better betting prospect. In the seven-furlong Champagne Stakes he toppled Reach For The Moon, the pair both shaping as though they need further before the season’s out and that’s high-class form.

Despite that, he was thrown into the Dewhurst Stakes in which he ran a blinder to finish a 2½-length third to Native Trail but he can be all the better for this extra furlong. Royal Patronage has done precious little wrong too and could complete the placings.

Sunday 24th October 2021

2.50 Longchamp (Prix Royal-Oak – Group 1) – KEMARI

We’re backing Charlie Appleby, William Buick and Godolphin once again here as there is no end in sight for their huge success at the top level.

Their Kemari was a good winner of the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, showing off his staying ability, while he was a little blocked in his run when just losing out by under a length to stable companion Manobo on Arc weekend.

That run was over this same course and 1m7f distance that he tackles here, while it has to be noted that three-year-olds have an excellent recent record in this race leading to thoughts that the weight allowance may be generous.

Mares Valia and Search For A Song are the main dangers, while it would be no surprise to see Scope run a big race.

3.00 Aintree (Old Roan Chase – Grade 2 Handicap) – KILLER CLOWN

We’re having our first proper bet of the National Hunt season at Aintree on Sunday, Emma Lavelle’s Killer Clown looking great value at the early prices to lower the colours of some high-profile rivals.

Those rivals have each chased Shishkin home, Allmankind and Tamaroc Du Mathan, but at the weights they are both vulnerable and there could be a mini shock on the cards.

Killer Clown is a big improver. A winner at Kempton, he’s gone off favourite for a couple of nice races since then including at graded level and so now after a break and a second wind operation, the seven-year-old can continue his sharp progression in conditions he will absolutely relish under jockey Tom Bellamy.


Friday 15 October 2021

Saturday 16th October 2021: Adayar to Cap Amazing Season in Champion Stakes

It’s Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday, when the jockeys’ and trainers’ titles will be decided.

There are matters to settle between equine rivals on the track too, and we have a selection in every race other than the Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes on what promises to be a fantastic day of action.

We begin however down under, where the Melbourne Cup odds are about to be shaken up again.

7.15 Caulfield (Caulfield Cup – Group 1 Handicap) – NONCONFORMIST

Incentivise has been all the rage at the top of the Melbourne Cup market, his long unbeaten run now including the Makybe Diva and Turnbull Stakes.

He’s been given a killer barrier for this AU$5 million race, but so have most of his chief rivals and so his short price is to be expected.

That said, at the weights he is very vulnerable over this mile-and-a-half trip. Craig Williams’ mount Nonconformist is given 8lbs here, is drawn four gates inside of the favourite, and showed absolute top level form last time when running Probabeel to a short head at Group 1 level over a mile-and-a-quarter.

He’s value to upset the favourite, Incentivise being next on the list ahead of Melbourne Cup contenders Young Werther and Delphi.

1.25 Ascot (British Champions Long Distance Cup – Group 2) – STRADIVARIUS

This race has proven once again to be quite difficult to handicap. Strad hasn’t always had the happiest time in this race, but he battled on stoutly behind his old rival Trueshan in Paris two weeks ago in conditions that these days suited the other horse much, much better.

Back over two miles and definitely on a sounder surface, he now looks good value to finish the season and perhaps even his career with one last big race success.

Hamish may improve further for this trip although that’s not guaranteed, while Trueshan can still be a threat even if he doesn’t get things all his own way, and Baron Samedi will need to take a step forward.

2.00 Ascot (British Champions Sprint Stakes – Group 1) – CREATIVE FORCE

There are plenty in with chances on the book here, but three horses did stand out.

2020 Gimcrack winner Minzaal made a very satisfactory return to action last time in the Rous Stakes, in which he was slowly away and perhaps found the five furlongs too sharp. Here he can take a leap forward and he promises overall to be a top-class sprinter so cannot be ignored.

Art Power has done it all before. An easy winner at the Curragh last time, Tim Easterby’s colt was a close-up fourth in this contest last year and looks primed for another big run.

He was also a close fourth to Starman in the July Cup, just a neck ahead of younger rival Creative Force who now gets the vote to prove he is the best of this bunch.

The faster six and quicker ground that day would’ve suited Art Power just a little better than Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old, who earlier this season routed a Listed field at Newbury before scoring from out wide in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He is progressive, already has some solid Group 1 form, but crucially has been described by his trainer as a horse who is only just learning to sprint and we could see it all come together this weekend.

3.10 Ascot (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes – Group 1) – PALACE PIER

This mile championship event promises to be one of the races of the season.

Lady Bowthorpe has chased Palace Pier home already and won the Group 1 Nassau, Mother Earth is a classic winner, Benbatl carries the Godolphin first colours, The Revenant is the defending champ and Alcohol Free is a rock-sold Group 1 winner. Still, none of them made the top three!

William Haggas’ Baaeed is a classy colt. He’s unbeaten and is now a Group 1 winner. He has faced some rather unsatisfactory opposition so far in truth however, has beaten a regressive El Drama and on a line through Order Of Australia still has some catching up to do with Palace Pier. He may also want a 1¼ miles.

The pedigree of Master Of The Seas in the Godolphin second colours doesn’t scream fast ground, so that’s a plus. He was a whisker away from beating Poetic Flare in the Guineas which is truly top-level form, and had his run interrupted when returning from injury behind Benbatl in the Joel Stakes on a day when they broke the track record at Newmarket.

In an ordinary year he’d be the selection, but none of this bunch have achieved what Palace Pier has and he’s far from done yet. He’s the best horse in this race, has reached the best form level several times over, and always runs as though he can pull out more if and when challenged close home. He should prove his class once again.

3.50 Ascot (Champion Stakes – Group 1) – ADAYAR

A brilliant renewal. Dubai Honour is on a roll but is in a little deep here, while defending champion Addeybb is another year older and may want it even softer than it is.

The likely favourite is Mishriff who was simply brilliant in the Juddmonte International in August. He peaked there and while this trip is his ideal, he really wants a flatter/faster mile-and-quarter and he has already been beaten by Adayar this season.

Adayar really is the big dog. He missed his prep for the Arc and ran too fresh, while the lack of pace also didn’t help. He shapes as though, even as a stunning Derby and King George winner, that he could be even better over this distance and given how big and strong he is, the three-year-old weight allowance could really play a factor too.

Al Aasy cannot be discounted over this trip either and he could yet spring something of a surprise, but Adayar is taken to round off a terrific season for himself, William Buick, Charlie Appleby and Godolphin in the best way.

4.30 Ascot (Balmoral Handicap – Class 2) – SUNRAY MAJOR

Aldaary loves this track, it should be soft enough for him and on breeding the step up to a mile should prove no barrier.

King Leonidas made a very encouraging reappearance in a race that ultimately suited proper middle-distance types, so given that he looks like a real miler we should see a big performance now.

The choice of Frankie Dettori however is Sunray Major and it’s easy to see why. His progress has been beautiful since coming back from injury, there is nothing wrong with race conditions for him and he simply looks too far ahead of the handicapper for the others to cope.

Friday 8 October 2021

Friday 8th & Saturday 9th October 2021: Mullins to Burn to Victory in Cesarewitch

On a huge global weekend of action, we have tons of information once again. Inspiral should dominate the Fillies’ Mile on Friday while Native Trail deserves his spot as favourite in the Dewhurst.

Native Trail’s trainer Charlie Appleby also has Hafit, Goldspur and Coroebus in with top chances as he continues to dominate the juvenile ranks, while Moshaawer, Siskany and Marshall Plan are likely types in the Old Rowley Cup.

The best value however comes across Friday and Saturday with the selections below.

Friday 8th October 2021

1.50 Newmarket (Cornwallis Stakes – Group 3) – HIERARCHY

Hugo Palmer’s juvenile Hierarchy was only just touched off in the Mill Reef in a good time at Newbury over six furlongs on his last run. That day he had the likes of Dhabab in behind, who is in the Dewhurst, and this stiff five furlongs looks to be right up his street.

Oisin Murphy is the ideal man to have on board and the pair are backed ahead of Twilight Jet and Guilded.

2.25 Newmarket (Oh So Sharp Stakes – Group 3) – GOOD AMERICAN

You’re always taking a chance with a once-raced horse, but Ralph Beckett’s Good American looks like a proper type.

Her winning debut at Salisbury was an outstanding run, the second has won since, she is by American Pharoah and will appreciate the race conditions. Perfect News is next on the list, with Malavath behind her while Allayali on breeding may not appreciate this test.

3.00 Newmarket (Challenge Stakes – Group 2) – AL SUHAIL

Another high quality seven-furlong Group 2, and it really is about time we had a Group 1 race over this distance in Britain for three-year-olds and over.

Garrus is interesting going up in trip, Chindit is solid and D’bai put in a good performance last time. His stablemate and the choice of William Buick however is Al Suhail who was always thought of as a top-level horse.

He has Group 1 form, won very well at Haydock and didn’t like the softer going last time. He should have enough to take this for arguably the world’s in-form trainer Charlie Appleby.

3.50 York (Heritage Handicap) – FLEURMAN

Mahrajaan, trained by the excellent William Haggas, is on a four-timer here and is second-best on my list but may not like the ground too slow.

Ralph Beckett’s last-time-out winner Fleurman however does like these conditions and is on a sharp upward curve. He won over this 1¾-mile distance last time out very easily and looks to be some way ahead of the handicapper despite his latest 12lb rise.

4.40 Newmarket (Pride Stakes – Group 3) – SAYYIDA

The likes of Ville De Grace, Lilac Road, La Jaconde and Soft Whisper all have chances here in a competitive event, while Lights On would be near the top of the list had the ground been soft.

Charlie Appleby’s Sayyida however looks the best value. She has steadily improved on all seven of her starts so far, there is no reason to think that progression will stop, and the drop to a mile-and-a-quarter having only just been beaten at this level last time out would appear to be in the daughter of Dubawi’s favour.

10.45 Keeneland (Alcibiades Stakes – Grade 1) – MATAREYA

This is a “win and you’re in” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, while it also provides points for next year’s Kentucky Oaks.

Based on speed ratings and the ability and/or form of the horses she beat easily on debut, Matareya is overpriced for this Grade 1 event. She can take this before heading off to Del Mar in November.

Saturday 9th October 2021

2.02 York (Rockingham Stakes – Listed Race) – CANONIZED

William Haggas’ Cheveley Park filly Canonized has tons of speed and has been very busy this season. She’s already run ten times in her juvenile season, even turning out twice in two days at Ayr, but she’s won three times and keeps improving for her racing.

She can burn this field off, with Gisburn next on the list ahead of Witch Hunter and Hellomydarlin.

3.35 Newmarket (Cesarewitch Handicap) – BURNING VICTORY

The second leg of the Autumn Double can once again go to Willie Mullins. Other than Saeed bin Suroor’s Live Your Dream, my shortlist was dominated by those trained at National Hunt yards with Whiskey Sour, M C Muldoon and especially Buzz showing up well.

Burning Victory however is lightly raced, has a lot more to come yet, and will have the assistance of William Buick up top.

4.25 York (Handicap) – MIDRARR

Initially I thought this race would be too competitive to be betting in; Eagle Court, Gumball and Benadalid all looking booked for big runs in the conditions.

Midrarr however has shown much better form either on genuinely soft ground, or on Wolverhampton’s tough Tapeta track and he could be significantly ahead of the assessors.

Ignoring his latest run on fast ground then, he has shown sharp improvement and will take another step forward for this first step up to two miles for William Haggas and Tom Marquand.

4.45 Newmarket (Darley Stakes – Group 3) – MOSTAHDAF

Seven-year-old Barney Roy could roll back the years with another solid Group performance, but we cannot ignore the significant potential still held by John & Thady Gosden’s Mostahdaf.

Twice a Listed winner, he was a decent fancy for the St James’s Palace Stakes in June but having been badly hampered before losing all chance, he suffered his only career defeat so far at the very top level.

9.44 Keeneland (First Lady Stakes – Grade 1) – ALTHIQA

Charlie Appleby took Grade 1 races with Althiqa at both Belmont and Saratoga over the summer, and he can repeat the trick at Keeneland’s wonderful Fall meet. She’s 6 from 11 now, is getting better all the time and in all truth looks a few pounds better than Blowout, Viadera who is drawn wide, and Princess Grace.

10.46 Keeneland (Keeneland Turf Mile – Grade 1) – ORDER OF AUSTRALIA

Ivar won this race at a big price last year and is feared again, while former British-trained Space Traveller is also in with a chance from gate 4.

Aidan O’Brien’s Order Of Australia however looks made for this. He was a 40/1 winner over the course and distance in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year and has recently got to within two lengths of both Baaeed and Palace Pier, the best two milers in Europe. The brilliant John Velazquez rides.

Friday 1 October 2021

Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd October 2021: Adayar to Join List of All-Time Greats

When taking into account racing overseas as well as at home, this is one of the biggest weekends of the entire year.

The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris is backed up by a fantastic, Group 1-laden card over Saturday and Sunday, while Melbourne Cup favourite Incentivise is strangely second-favourite to win early doors on Saturday in the Turnbull Stakes.

Juvenile Jack Christopher may make his Breeders’ Cup case at Belmont, as may Maxfield, while the likes of Suesa, Space Blues and Stradivarius (ground permitting) all have winning chances in France.

We have to concentrate on those with an even bigger winning chance and/or those who are better value for money however, with this tidy bunch being spread over three great days of weekend action.

Friday 1st October 2021

3.05 Ascot (Noel Murless Stakes – Listed Race) – MANDOOB

Brian Meehan’s Shadwell runner Mandoob could yet be heading to the top. His form is solid, he’s only three runs into his career and he chased home Yibir last time out at Newmarket.

He would have had a good chance in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes on Saturday in which he was also engaged, however this 1¾-mile trip is better for him with the drop to Listed company being coincidental.

Scope is the obvious danger, though the consistent Chalk Stream and improver First Light can also get into the frame.

4.50 Ascot (Handicap) – SUNRAY MAJOR

The Gosden team have always thought a lot of this horse, enough anyway to keep the four-year-old son of Dubawi in training despite him managing only two runs in his life until two weeks ago.

On his belated return he blitzed his opposition at Chelmsford, putting up the sort of performance that makes him appear a horse capable of 105+ despite getting into this handicap off only 95.

He should be clear then, though if Top Secret handles rain-softened ground he too can go well.

Saturday 2nd October 2021

1.30 Ascot (October Stakes – Listed Race) – WITH THANKS

The rain may finally be arriving in time for William Haggas’ With Thanks to once again show her best form.

Only a four-year-old, we haven’t reached the bottom of this girl yet but she is already a wide-margin Group 3 winner on heavy ground with any easing of conditions going in her favour. Her jockey Tom Marquand is the best on show of those in with a chance, Highfield Princess and Bounce The Blues being next on the list.

1.45 Newmarket (Fillies’ Handicap) – PRINCESS NADIA

Despite this mile-and-a-quarter fillies’ handicap being an open affair, 5/1 the field at the time of writing, it was still very surprising to see Princess Nadia being quoted at double-figure prices when they first went up.

The Gosden runner has rock-solid form with the likes of Mandoob and Brunnera, may appreciate which way the ground is going and will relish being on the Rowley Mile for the very first time.

She’s too big a price for a horse with a fine chance, with Swoon and Evident Beauty being among a clutch of fillies capable of mounting a challenge.

2.05 Ascot (Rous Stakes – Listed Race) – MINZAAL

A terrific juvenile last season seemingly heading to the top, Minzaal’s form is over six furlongs and he was indeed entered over that distance in the Bengough Stakes later on this card.

In fact, he is the type to get quicker over time and on this track on his first start for over a year, five furlongs will far enough for him to go.

True, Hurricane Ivor, Dakota Gold and the likes provide stern and match-fit opposition, but on class alone he’s the best in this field so assuming natural improvement cancels out the potential for needing the run slightly, he too is simply overpriced on the early betting shows and is worth a small bet.

2.40 Ascot (Cumberland Lodge Stakes – Group 3) – QUICKTHORN

Hukum will be all the rage again, but he has a penalty and seems to have flattened out albeit at a very good level.

Ilaraab can carry on his improvement and looks up to this grade, as does Doncaster handicap winner Title who ran so well at Ascot. Alignak too is no mug, but the one to be on could be Hughie Morrison’s Quickthorn.

A winner on the soft at the royal meeting in June, the four-year-old has since run second in the Ebor and put up a big show when taking a useful conditions race at Salisbury. He’s going the right way for certain and looks the value in this contest.

2.55 Newmarket (Sun Chariot Stakes – Group 1) – SAFFRON BEACH

It’s easy to see why Falmouth Stakes winner Snow Lantern is being well backed for this, while 1000 Guineas heroine Mother Earth is another obvious candidate.

The Guineas form is still crucial here though, with my focus being on Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Saffron Beach. She has bullet-proof form against some of the best in the business, is improving all the time (possibly past her old rivals) and recorded a comfortable Group 3 win last time.

The form of that success at Sandown has been franked in no uncertain terms, the booking of big-race jockey and title-chaser William Buick being the last important piece of this puzzle to have been slotted in.

4.00 Longchamp (Prix Dollar – Group 2) – MEGALLAN

Given the plethora of Group 1 action, the mile-and-a-quarter Prix Dollar may just slip under the radar a little.

Dubai Honour, Magny Cours, Saiydabad and Patrick Sarsfield can all go well, but Megallan cannot be ignored for John and Thady Gosden.

Second to Yibir and fourth to One Ruler as a juvenile, he has done nothing but improve at three. He landed the Burradon Stakes in good style at Newcastle, chased home Hurricane Lane in the Dante and won a Group 3 last time out. He has plenty of steel and can see this field off under Frankie Dettori.

Sunday 3rd October 2021

3.05 Longchamp (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – Group 1) – ADAYAR

Europe’s premier middle-distance race can have a new hero. Looking to follow in the hoofprints of the likes of Sea The Stars, Sinndar and Golden Horn is Derby winner Adayar and he simply looks the best horse in the race.

Very few horses can take down the Derby and the King George, even fewer go on to land this famous treble, but Charlie Appleby’s son of Frankel has every single attribute needed and can surely shine on his date with destiny.

A good pointer is the choice of William Buick to ride this horse. Hurricane Lane, third to Adayar at Epsom, has gone on to land the Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and the St Leger no less. He too would be making history if winning the final Classic of the season as well as the Arc, but despite an enforced break his stablemate is the one.

Adayar missed an intended prep race at Longchamp due to a small issue, but he’s been in full work for three weeks and the team are very confident.

Challenging him for favouritism is the mare Tarnawa. A multiple Group 1 winner including over this course and distance, she was carried across the track by St Mark’s Basilica when beaten narrowly by the top colt in the Irish Champion Stakes last time, all that at a distance short of her best.

She is solid for sure, as is runaway Oaks winner Snowfall, but they will all have to reach a new level to get to Adayar who can make history.

We may even see a Godolphin 1-2 here, with Chrono Genesis, Alenquer and Love also considered for places.

3.50 Longchamp (Prix de l’Opera – Group 1) – ZEYAADAH

A small bet can be justified on Zeyaadah here at the likely double-figure prices.

A Listed winner as a juvenile and an unlucky loser in the Cheshire Oaks, Zeyaadah has shown great speed to win a Group 3 at Newcastle and was only just denied by Lady Bowthorpe in the Nassau on softer ground.

One could argue she has the best form in this race, with Burgarita, Palmas and Audarya also challenging for place money.