Ryan Moore has four booked rides on Arc day at Longchamp includng on Japan in the feature race, but the Betfair Ambassador acknowledges the task in hand against super filly Enable...
"He is very progressive and I will be disappointed if he is out of the first three."
- Ryan Moore on Japan in the Arc
Experience and change of gear in his favour
13:50 - Armory
They think a fair bit of the unbeaten Victor Ludorum but I have a lot of time for Armory. He clearly bumped into an exceptional 2yo in Pinatubo in the National Stakes, and he will be suited by the step up to a mile. The soft ground is not certain to suit but what is in his favour is his experience and his change of gear. Race toughness can count for a lot in contests like these.
Japan and Magical have strong place claims in the Arc
15:05 - Japan
We all know that we are facing one of the best horses of her generation in the shape of Enable, so let's not kid ourselves about the task in hand if she is on her A-game. But, by the same token, I am a believer in Japan and he has improved from race-to-race this season. He is a lovely colt who does everything right in his races, with a super attitude.
He did exceptionally well to win the Juddmonte last time, the step back up to 1m4f is an obvious positive, as is the fact that he has won around here. And the ground should be fine for him, too. He is very progressive and I will be disappointed if he is out of the first three.
And I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if Magical was placed, too. At times, I have believed she could beat Enable, and she has got to within a length of her on a couple of occasions. She just doesn't know how to run a bad race. I was obviously very happy with her when she won the Irish Champion Stakes last time, and she is simply a very dependable and high-class filly.
Two horses that have something of the unknown about them are Sottsass and Ghaiyyath. Sottsass has a fair bit to find form-wise but he travels and has a turn of foot, and you can't underestimate him. He does still have something to prove for me in terms of ground and stamina - I know he has won on soft and over 1m4f, but not in this class - but he is an exciting colt and it is in his favour that the Siyouni colt is out of a Galileo mare.
I wouldn't hold Ghaiyyath's Ganay third to Waldgeist against him as he probably wasn't at his best there, and you have to respect him after what he did in Germany last time. I think he is probably well drawn in 12 as they will probably look to go forward with him, without too pressure, and set their own pace. Whether he can cut it in this type of race and get there and stay there, we shall see, but I can certainly see the each-way case for him.
You know what you get with Waldgeist - a very good run without winning in this type of company - and, while French King has been very well placed by his shrewd connections and won his Group 1 last time, this is another level altogether.
I was a little bit disappointed by Kiseki in the Foy, as he has plenty of speed and class, and his second to Almond Eye in the Japan Cup last year was a particularly good effort given the way the race panned out off a strong pace. The other Japanese runners Blast Onepiece and Fierement are no also-rans - the Sapporo Kinen that the former won last time, with Fierement in third after a wide trip, has been won by some good horses - but the country have sent over better horses than these and still come up short. And this is a very good renewal.
Gosden's filly will be a tough nut to crack
15:55 - Pink Dogwood
There is nothing between any of our three fillies in here but it's fair to say they all have their work cut out against Mehdaayih. I think John Gosden's filly is the clear stand-out on her Nassau second and I think she will be very hard to beat if handling the softer ground. But Fleeting has run any number of good races this season and showed at Ascot that she handles testing conditions, and my mount Pink Dogwood has a very fair claim if recapturing her Epsom form, while Goddess is more of an improver and will like the softer ground after being beaten on good to firm at the Curragh last time. All have their chances, but Mehdaayih could prove a tough nut to crack, as I said.
Playing for places if Battaash is on top form
16:30 - Fairyland
There was only a short-head between Fairyland and So Perfect in the Flying Five last time, so I would have been happy to have sat on either here. But I ride Fairyland, who came good at the Curragh. Ideally, she would prefer better ground, though she didn't run badly in deep conditions over 6f in the Sprint Cup at Haydock. She is a dual Group 1 winner and fully entitled to take her chance.
But we all know we are playing for places if Battaash turns up in anywhere near the same form of his pretty stunning Nunthorpe win, or any one of about three or four previous efforts throughout his career. And he is equally effective on softer ground too, so he will be nigh on impossible to stop if at his best. He can chuck in the odd bad one, though, and he was only fourth to Mabs Cross in this race last year, so he is no certainty.