The big day is upon us with the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe attracting runners from far and wide. Patrick Weaver previews the six Grade 1s, expecting Godolphin to take the Arc...
"Their form at, and since, Epsom in June can't be faulted. The only defeat Hurricane Lane has on his CV is when his front shoes came off in the Derby. Was it because of losing them?"
I'm not expecting a shock result in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Europe's most valuable race, at 15:05.
The winner will surely come from the first six in the betting. Anything priced 16/1 and above needs to improve significantly on their recent form to win.
Given the going being not far from heavy, there's scope for an outsider being placed, but win - no!
Godolphin haven't a good record in the race - Marienbard was their last winner in 2002 - but they've not had many fancied horses to be fair.
This year the Dubai operation has two of the first three in the betting, Adayar and Hurricane Lane.
It won't be the first time they've lined up for the same race. Their previous confrontation was at Epsom when Adayar came off best in the Derby, Hurricane Lane finishing third, having lost both his front shoes at some point in the race.
Adayar has since won the King George from Mishriff, Love and Broome. while Hurricane Lane has taken the Irish Derby, the St Leger and the Grand Prix de Paris - the later Group 1 over the Arc course on very soft going.
The pair's form at, and since, Epsom in June can't be faulted. The only defeat Hurricane Lane has on his CV is when his front shoes came off. Was it because of losing them?
Tarnawa starts the weekend as favourite but doesn't float my boat. I think there's a chance she will be torpedoed by the Godolphin colts.
She may not have been first past the post at Leopardstown in the Irish Champion Stakes but she was the best horse on the day. It was ridiculous of the stewards not to give her the race after St Mark's Basilica had taken her right across the track.
She had won her five previous starts including last year's Prix Vermeille and Prix de l'Opera, giving her two wins from two runs at Longchamp with Christophe Soumillon in the saddle. She is flawless and the going is not an issue but the Godolphin challenge is red hot and I prefer the three-year-olds.
Aidan O'Brien runs his two Oaks winners Snowfall and Love. The latter has rather fallen off her perch this year, so it is no surprise Ryan Moore has opted for Snowfall. He is unbeaten on the filly whose wins have all come against her own sex. This will be Snowfall's first race against colts.
Had she not disappointed in her Arc trial when beaten at 1/5, she might have been my tip this weekend. Forgive her that run and she ticks every other box.
The Japanese star Chrono Genesis is also a box ticker, having won over £7.7million in Japan and Dubai. He comes into the race in form but there are two reservations with him. All his Group 1 races have come on good or firmer and Oisin Murphy hasn't ridden him before on the track.
The other Japanese runner 25/1 shot Deep Bond appeals as the best outsider. He successfully made all in his Arc trial over course and distance, beating Broome a length and a half. With similar tactics, he could conceivably nick the race from the front or only be caught by one or two of the market leaders. Unlikely, but possible.
Natasha can extend her winning run in the Boussac
Not only is Frankel the sire of both Hurricane Lane and Adiyar, but he's the dad of the favourite in the first race on ITV at 13:15, the Prix Marcel Boussac.
Raclette has won minor races at Deauville and Chantilly on soft. She's well regarded but her odds of 11/8 owe more to Andre Fabre training her than her results.
Others have raced in Group company. Raclette's stablemate Zellie has finished strongly to take second behind Oscula at Deauville and Fleur D'Iris here at Longchamp.
Joseph O'Brien's runner Agartha had won a Group 2 and a Group 3 before losing out narrowly to Discoveries in the Moyglare Stud Stakes when put in the deep end. That fully entitles her to close consideration as the only runner with top-level experience.
Acer Alley was doing her best work at the death when getting up late to take the Group 3 Prix La Rochette over seven here at Longchamp.
Who Knows held off English challengers Oneforthegutter and The Wizard Of Eye to take a seven-furlong Group 3 at Deauville on good going.
John Gosden's Natasha, another by Frankel, has won minor races in the style of a good filly. She's a half-sister to a French Derby winner and has each-way appeal at 12/1 with Frankie Dettori up.
Acca's one for your each-way acca
Next up is a seven-furlong Group 1 for two-year-olds, the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at 13:50.
The British challengers are Ebro River (Hugo Palmer), Angel Bleu (Ralph Beckett), Noble Truth (Charlie Appleby), and The Wizard Of Eye (Charlie Moore). Aidan O'Brien runs Stone Age.
Ebro River could go off favourite, given he is the best colt in the race, but I fancy the French filly Accakaba each-way. She runs in this rather than the Marcel Boussac as it looked when she beat Fleur D'Iris at Deauville as if seven furlongs is her max for the time being. She's four from four, won a Group 2 over the trip and should go close getting 4lb from the boys.
Classic form a help when looking at the Prix de l'Opera
The French Oaks back in June is an obvious race to refer to when looking at the Prix de l'Opera Longines at 15:50, the first race after the Arc.
Sibila Spain made the running in that before Aidan O'Brien's Joan Of Arc collared her 50 yards out. Philomene and Burgarita finished well to take second and third, Sibila Spain was fourth. Rougir fifth and Incarville seventh.
Another three-year-old to consider is the German Oaks winner Palmas as she won that Classic by six lengths. It is hard to gauge the quality of those behind her and 9/1 could flatter her or look a steal after the race.
When looking at the older fillies and mares the first port of call has to be is the Darley Prix Jean Romanet at the end of August.
Grand Glory took that Deauville Group 1 by a short head from Audarya with Thundering Heights third and Ambition fourth.
Sibila Spain appeals each-way over the trip, 110 yards shorter than the French Oaks when she was caught close home.
Suesa doesn't deserve to be Abbaye favourite
I don't have any strong views on five-furlong sprints on soft going, whether they are sellers or Group 1s. The outcomes depend on who breaks the fastest and which one gets a clear passage.
All five UK runners in the Prix de l'Abbaye at 16:25 are trained in Yorkshire with last year's winner Glass Slippers shortest in the Sportsbook at 9/2. Winter Power is 6/1, the Karl Burke-trained pair Dandalla and Lady In France are 16s and 25s respectively. Adrian Nicholls' Mo Celita is also 25s.
The French filly Suesa is weirdly favourite, despite never winning at this level.
Winter Power beat her all ends up when Suesa was fourth in the Nunthorpe for which she was also favourite. I can't see why she should turn the tables on Tim Easterby's filly which is three times Suesa's odds of 2/1.
There are only two Group 1s over seven furlongs for older horses in Europe and the Prix de la Foret at 17:00 is one of them. The other is the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville in July.
Laws Of Indices won that by a head from fast-finishing Thunder Moon, Midtown, Valloria, and Colloseo. You would normally expect all five to turn up. It's weird that only two have.
This year's winners of the Group 2s over the trip are Space Blues and Kinross, who scored at the York Ebor meeting and Glorious Goodwood respectively.
Pearls Galore, Sagamiyra and Kevin Ryan's Last Empire have won Group 3s over seven - Sagamiyra beating a luckless Speak Of The Devil last time.
Tropbeau is worth a look as she finished ahead of Kinross in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville over six and a half furlongs. Her overall form this year has been pretty ropey, which is why she was 92/1 that day and 20/1 for this weekend's race.
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