It's not only Arc day at Longchamp but Super Sunday at Tipperary and Tony Keenan has found six horses to back at the Junction...
"The value here might be in the Mullins outsider Camelia De Cotte. A mare that struggled to put runs together over hurdles, fences seem to have been the making of her, winning well the last twice."
The Arc remains Europe's race of races and despite its late position in the calendar (or maybe because of it), it is rare that we get a sub-standard winner. Enable was well up-to-scratch in 2017 and there is every chance she does 'a Treve' and repeats the feat with this afternoon's race lacking the depth of last year. Some rain - and there is plenty of it forecast - wouldn't inconvenience her though it would be against Sea Of Class and a help to my fancy Kew Gardens as it could bring stamina into play. Anyway, enough of ParisLongchamp as the focus of this column will be Tipperary.
Read Tony Calvin on the Arc here.
A few of the fancied ones in the opening maiden - run over further than any two-year-old maiden in Ireland - seem worth opposing. South Pacific has not impressed with his attitude thus far, holding his head high and inclined to hang, while Edessann is off a mini-break and may not want this trip. He travelled best of all in his debut over seven furlongs and is entered in the Irish 2,000 Guineas so this extended distance on soft ground may stretch him.
Ordinarily Han Solo would not be good enough in a race like this having gone from a claiming maiden to a median auction on his first two starts. There was plenty to like about the second of those over a mile however as he was trapped up the rail and couldn't get a run, only getting out when the race was over but finishing off well. He looks likely to stay this trip on that evidence and the form of his last race may not be too bad; the form horses were ahead of him and the sixth has come out and run well. Certainly he should be able to get closer to Sacchoandvanzetti who finished ahead of him last time.
Aussie Valentine was a little disappointing last time over Irish Champions Weekend but there are a few small things that suggest he can better that effort now. Chief among them is that this is a lesser race and it could be that he pressed on a bit soon last time, making his move at the crown of the bend rather than waiting. Furthermore, as a horse that thrives on racing he may have needed what was his first run since Galway and the ground is softer here too. His form figures at this track read:121 while the seven pounds Ben Coen takes off will help.
The Galway conditions race won by Dream Walker is likely to play a part here but perhaps the fourth Beckwith Place is the horse to take from it. The runner-up Onlyhuman seems the obvious one to go with but he has been drawn worst of all here and his attitude is not all that it might be judging on his starts earlier this season. Beckwith Place was off a mini-break last time and could never really get a clear run when he wanted it; it wasn't serious trouble but he could have done with more space. He gets a weight pull with both Dream Walker and Onlyhuman and that along with increased fitness could help him reverse form.
I'm going to use the same approach in both graded novice events and back one of the outsiders of the Willie Mullins runners. All summer the stable jockey bookings seem to have been in the prices too much and of the 45 races this jumps season where the trainer has had at least two runners, the shorter priced horses has beaten an outsider 27 times versus 18 occasions when a bigger-priced runner did best. Those 27 occasions will include cases where the yard had a long odds-on shot and in cases like this when the betting is more open there have been plenty of perceived upsets.
With that in mind, Dorrells Pierji looks overpriced. The minimum trip around this track is a concern but he looks the best long-term prospect in the field, his bumper win at Galway achieved in a good time-figure and that was followed by a facile victory on hurdles debut. Connections have said they will keep him going through the winter which suggests they think plenty of him and Quick Grabim looks on the short side. One would typically expect improvement for the run last time but it was interesting to note that the trainer said after that win that 'today was the day' so it there may not be much more to come fitness-wise.
This looks a weak handicap hurdle but Decision Time jumps as the runner with scope to be better than her current mark of 104. She was a little underwhelming on her last flat run in August but up to then had been in fine form during the summer, her Galway run better than it looks as she travelled well but simply didn't get home in what was an extremely strongly-run race. She reverts to hurdles now having improved plenty on the level and is worth chancing in a field where few have much scope.
As referenced above, the value here might be in the Mullins outsider Camelia De Cotte. A mare that struggled to put runs together over hurdles, fences seem to have been the making of her, winning well the last twice. She looked particularly good at Listowel, barely coming off the bridle to beat a reasonable field, and her jumping is good which can't always be said about novices from this yard.
Jumping could be an issue for her stablemate Robin Des Foret. Despite having had six runs over fences, his jumping isn't really improving and while an easy winner last time, it is easy to pick holes in that form; Caltex fell mid-race, Minella Beau was beaten down the back straight while Cap D'Aubois (runs here) has since been sold out of Closutton. Le Richebourg is a meaningful rival but tries this trip for the first time and seems underpriced.
Tony Keenan 2018 P/L
0.5 Point Back Han Solo @ [17.0] or bigger in the Tipperary 13:40
0.5 Point Place Back Han Solo @ [4.0] or bigger in the Tipperary 13:40
0.5 Point Back Aussie Valentine @ [7.6] or bigger in the Tipperary 14:10
0.5 Point Back Beckwith Place @ [11.0] or bigger in the Tipperary 14:10
0.5 Point Back Dorrells Pierji @ [6.6] or bigger in the Tipperary 15:45
0.5 Point Back Decision Time @ [6.2] or bigger in the Tipperary 16:15
1 Point Back Camellia De Cotte @ [3.8] or bigger in the Tipperary 16:45