Tony Calvin: Outsider worth chancing with conditions to suit in the Arc

The Arc at Chantilly and the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket (pictured) are just two of this weekend's big betting races
The Arc at Chantilly and the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket (pictured) are just two of this weekend's big betting races

A huge weekend of racing lies ahead with the undoubted highlight being the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday afternoon, and our big-price tipster Tony Calvin is here to cast an early eye over the action...


"...soft ground is not going to be any barrier to this horse winning. His form figures on soft ground or worse are 12112, and he has form figures of 312 on this track."

Back Cloth Of Stars win-only at 34.033/1 or bigger on the exchange in the Arc

We are spoiled for choice this weekend when it comes to ante-post betting opportunities, but of course it is the Arc which takes centre stage.

I have not been in the best tipping form for the past three weeks or so and we are already behind the eight-ball when it comes to betting on this race, courtesy of the inexplicable no-show of Cracksman. Apologies for that.

But there is no point on dwelling on the past, and now we have to establish if any horse can beat his stablemate Enable in his absence.

The quick answer is probably no, for all that Ulysses is in fact rated 1lb her superior after his impressive win in the Juddmonte last time.

But we saw what the filly did to Ulysses in soft ground over this trip in the King George, and unfortunately we are on weather watch again this week.


Likely soft ground a big negative for some


The ground at Chantilly is currently soft with a largely drying forecast until the weekend but then the heavens really could open, especially on Sunday.

So I think it is sensible to work on the basis of soft ground and that is bad news for the likes of Ulysses and Highland Reel, to name just two.

You could easily argue that Ulysses' best two runs have come with ease in the ground but the worry for him is the combination of 1m4f and softer ground.

He travelled beautifully in the King George but rather paddled when let down, and the facts of the matter are, excuses ignored, that he has come up short in his three runs over 1m4f in Group 1 company.

The stats are even more conclusive for Highland Reel, who is 0 from 8 on good to soft or worse ground.

For all he finished second in this race last year, and is a big form player on his Prince Of Wales's defeat of two subsequent Group 1 winners, the likely ground is massively off-putting. As it would be for stablemate Seventh Heaven, who I would give a fair shout at a colossal price on decent ground.


Current odds very fair about the jolly


Anyway, back to Enable. The only potential negatives you can flag up for her is that she has been racing since mid-April - so presumably was being seriously trained as early as March - and she has never raced in a field with more than 10 runners, and she can probably expect a fair bit of hustle and bustle here.

But it is hard to seriously argue with her current exchange price of 2.0621/20 given she has won four Group 1s in a row by an aggregate of 20 lengths.

The price on last year's third Order Of St George is ebbing slowly away but he comes into this race in top form and quotes of around 12/1 are still fair - and we don't know if Ballydoyle are planning to run St Leger winner Capri and Winter, or indeed Idaho or Cliffs Of Moher - and he could well tighten up further in the betting given he handles any ground, fast or slow.


Cloth a big price to become a Star


If there is another horse in the race with the potential to shorten appreciably then I think it is Cloth Of Stars.

The Betfair Sportsbook is rightly ducking him at 20/1 in my opinion but there is 33/1 still available in the marketplace and he currently trades at 34.033/1 on the exchange. I want him onside at that price, so I recommend backing him now.

Obviously, the draw is an unknown - that is made on Thursday evening - but soft ground is not going to be any barrier to this horse winning. His form figures on soft ground or worse are 12112, and he has form figures of 312 on this track.

He has had the classic French Arc prep, too.

He was three from three in the spring, where he beat a subsequent Group 1 winner in Mekhtaal over 1m2f at Chantilly in the Harcourt, and the same again as he edged out the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud victor Zarak in the Ganay.

He was having his first start since May 1 when second to Dschingis Secret in the Prix Foy, and I can see him making big strides from that run.

He will certainly need to, and historically that race hasn't been the best trial for the Arc, but I like his profile and the Foy went a long way to alleviating my fears that 1m4f may just stretch his stamina. Trust in the Little General to have him primed for a career-best on Sunday, and hopefully net his first Arc since Rail Link in 2006.


You're Fired an early fancy to boss Cambridgeshire field


There is no shortage of top-class domestic action too, with the rescheduled Ayr Gold Cup taking place at Haydock and a whole host of Group 1 and 2 juvenile action at Newmarket along with the Cambridgeshire.

I'd be inclined to wait until later in the week before getting involved in any of those races but, of course, the 35-runner Cambridgeshire is a big betting heat.

Impressive Sandown winner Thundering Blue is the right favourite at 9.417/2 but he could well be bigger on the day, with enhanced place terms available, too. So it is probably sensible to keep your powder dry for now.

You're Fired, a 33/1 chance with the Betfair Sportsbook, does interest me, though. He has no secrets from the handicapper but he ran well after a long absence at Doncaster recently, and I think the 1m1f trip could suit him ideally. Good ground is fine for him but any rain would be a plus.

Furthermore, his stable is having a rather good time of it in big races of late, and I like his profile for this big handicap. But I'll wait until later in the week before pressing the betting trigger on him. If at all.

Oh, and I also think Signs Of Blessing is a fair 7/1 shot for the Abbaye with the Betfair Sportsbook. That is the top price around and I think it won't last, if you want to get involved before seeing the opposition, ground and the draw.

Have a good week.


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Back Cloth Of Stars win-only at 34.033/1 or bigger on the exchange in the Arc


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