Day one of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe began well yesterday as the best bet of the day, VANDEEK, obliged in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, further improving his reputation and my love for him.
I just love Vandeek. Such a brilliant, honest horse.
Fantastic stable star for @gainsboroughHQ.
— Ash Symonds Journalism (@ASymondsJourno) September 30, 2023
Today, the feature event takes place at 3:05 and I have a fancy to share as well as two other horses to consider.
It’s set to be a brilliant day today and I can’t wait for the action to begin.
3:05 Longchamp: Westover @ 7/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW
As is the nature of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, no one would be knocked off their feet if any of the 15 runners passed the famous winning post in front.
Remember, it’s only been two years since Torquator Tasso won the prestigious 1m4f contest at odds of 72/1, so anything can truly happen.
A HUGE SHOCK IN THE ARC!
— Sporting Life Racing (@SportingLife) October 3, 2021
I’m hoping that won’t happen this year as Westover is my number one Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe horse.
The four-year-old colt by Frankel has performed brilliantly all season in four separate Group 1 races; his worst run of the year occurred when second to Emily Upjohn in the Coronation Cup at Epsom which says a lot.
Ralph Beckett’s stable star began the season with a massive run in the Group 1 Sheema Classic in Meydan behind the world-class Equinox; three horses who finished behind Westover in the Sheema Classic – Zagrey, Russian Emperor, and Mostahdaf – have all won Group 1 races since with the latter succeeding in the Prince Of Wales’s and Juddmonte International.
🏆Dubai Sheema Classic (G1)
2410m, 6.000.000 USD, for 3yo+
(4C Kitasan Black – Chateau Blanche, by King Kamehameha)
J : Christophe Lemaire
T :T. Kimura
O : Silk Racing Co., Ltd.
B : Northern Farmpic.twitter.com/Sfbpi34GF8
— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) March 25, 2023
Following his fine effort at Epsom in June, he swept aside Zagrey in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud before his valiant effort when second to Hukum in the Group 1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on his most recent outing.
The reason why I’m with Westover rather than Hukum is due to the difference in the draw – stall one for Westover against stall 14 for Hukum – and there seems to be an aroma around Owen Burrows’ Sea The Stars entire that he doesn’t want rattling fast ground.
A race that lives up to expectation 💥
Hukum produces a gutsy performance to hold off Westover to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes 🤩pic.twitter.com/TIFbrDIyho
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) July 29, 2023
With this in mind, Westover will have no problems with the official going of good, good to firm in places, and at 7/1, he is my bet in the season-defining race.
3:50 Longchamp: Lumiere Rock @ 6/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW
This year’s Group 1 Prix de l’Opera is a tricky puzzle to work out as many questions require answers ahead of the 10-furlong fillies and mares contest.
Will Blue Rose Cen bounce back on the ground? Can we forgive Al Husn for York? Why has Tony Carroll not got a runner in the race?
Each of those questions is as pertinent as one another, though the horse who seems to hold most of the answers is Joseph O’Brien’s Lumiere Rock at 6/1.
The chestnut filly by Saxon Warrior is no stranger to competitive, high-class races thanks to her five consecutive attempts in Group-level contests since the start of May.
The three-year-old, purchased for just 55,000gns at the 2021 Tattersalls October Yearlings Sale, got her head in front for the first time this season in the Group 2 Blandford Stakes last time out.
"And they're away!"
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) September 10, 2023
Again, one could question where Jackie Oh, who reappears today, might have finished if her path to the line was clear, yet let’s take nothing away from the eventual winner who looked like the winner for the majority of the contest.
Furthermore, her second in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot reads favourably thanks to two subsequent Group 1 victories for the winner, Warm Heart; Bluestocking (3rd) ran well on her next two starts in Group 1 company and even the eighth, Lmay, finished third to Sumo Sam in the Group 2 Park Hill Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster recently.
She is likely to appreciate the better ground and with the cheekpieces remaining on for today’s task, Lumiere Rock should be a lively contender in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera.
5:00 Longchamp: Kelina @ 16/1 with BoyleSports – 1pt EW
My persistence to take on Kinross at every station this season has experienced its ups and downs, though my bank account is beginning to get worried after his two victories at York and Goodwood recently.
Despite his obvious claims, the 16/1 floating about for Kelina in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret is too big to leave alone as an each-way proposition.
The three-year-old filly by Frankel receives a handy four pounds from her older rivals and has progressed nicely for trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias this season.
Her 2023 kicked off with a nice second in a one-mile event at Longchamp on soft ground in April before a valiant effort to finish fourth in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches behind Blue Rose Cen, a future Group 1 Prix de Diane winner.
🌟 She's a superstar! 🌟
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) May 14, 2023
After that, she dropped down in class for the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham where she easily dismissed Sauterne, one of the market principles for the Prix de l’Opera, on her only start on good ground.
This race is key as looking at her knee action for both her French 1000 Guineas fourth and this success, she seemingly likes to glide into her races rather than using a big stride like Blue Rose Cen has, suggesting today’s good ground should be preferable.
Classic form to the fore!
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 4, 2023
Although she disappointed at Deauville in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild, that occurred on soft ground so excuses can be made and her effort in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin last time out was respectable.
Back on faster ground and dropping in trip to seven furlongs, Kelina looks like a fair each-way bet at 16/1.