Arc de Triomphe Day at Longchamp, 2009

I survived yesterday, just about, dear reader, but no thanks to Ghanaati, who cost me a chunk. Rather, I fluked parity with a dual forecast involving the back to his best Pipedreamer and Gris de Gris in the Prix Dollar.

Enough of yesterday - what about today? In my view, it looks like a fine day for the raiding party, starting with the Prix de l'Abbaye.

12.45 - Prix de l'Abbaye

The local Paris Turf newspaper here trumpets the headline, "Le sport favori des anglais" (The favourite sport of the English), and it's not hard to see why.

In today's line up there are sixteen runners, only one of which represents the home team. Unlike Marchant d'Or last season, Stern Opinion has a limited chance, and - despite the presence of other foreign raiders, from Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic - I'm confident Britain will prevail here.

But which horse will do the honours? The usual battle-hardened squad line up, headed by the fragile but rapid mare, Fleeting Spirit. She's only been out of the frame twice in twelve starts, one of which was in this race last year and - for my money - she does tend to find one too good at the very top level.

Against her comes the tough as teak venerable veteran, Borderlescott, and he's my idea of the winner. A remarkable old stick, he'd be coming here looking for a four-timer were it not for being totally drawn out of it at Goodwood. That he finished fourth was a tremendous performance and, with a reasonable berth today, I reckon he'll blast past his younger antagonists.

For an each way selection, there are worse picks than Monsieur Chevalier. As a 2yo, he's getting a stone and more from this lot, and his running style - stalking off the pace, picking up late - will be well suited to this breakneck encounter. Whether he's quite mature / good enough to prevail against these wily old speedsters is another question but, if he is, you'll have a helluva run for your money when he tries to go from last to first!

1.20 - Prix Marcel Boussac

A nigh on impossible 2yo race for fillies. This will be a very small stakes play for me. Kilo Alpha has plenty of supporters and Mme. Criquet Head-Maarek has few peers when it comes to winning this race. Godolphin's Wedding March also has a fine chance based on the eye-catching nature of her debut win and the guaranteed improvement M. Fabre will exact.

But I'm going to take a bit of a punt with the Italian filly, Joanna, who has achieved more and will likely improve less than most of these. She won a Group 3 in a pretty fast time last time out, and - as a speculative wager in a wide open contest - she might just prevail at a decent price.

1.55 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere

I've been a huge fan of Dick Turpin all season, and he got me out of an almighty hole when winning at Goodwood back in July. The standard of opposition here is stiffer, as you'd expect for a Group 1 contest, but the nature of his four victories (by an aggregate of 15 1/2 lengths) suggest there is more to come.

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Again, plenty of unexposed 'could be anything' types - notable Lope de Vega, but I expect Dick Turpin to 'stand and deliver'... (groan)

2.30 Prix de l'Opera

Ah, it's going to be a strange anachronistic episode here, when Midday wins at 2.30. She's the apple of 'Sir' Henry's eye, and she's been performing with credit all season, most notably when just touched off in the Oaks and then when prevailing in the Nassau Stakes last time out. A mile and a quarter might just be her ideal distance, the ground won't trouble her, and she looks primed for a valiant attempt to bring home the jambon cru.

Looking to spoil the fairy story are many mares of merit, including Alpine Rose, Crystal Capella and Chinese White, all of whom boast multiple winning form this season.

Of these, Chinese White may not run, and Crystal Capella's beating of Dar Re Mi looks the best piece of form outside of Midday's Nassau Stakes victory.

Ryan Moore will give the Capella every chance, but it's Tom Queally that I'm cheering, and perhaps another emotional moment in the winners' circle with that man, 'Sir' Henry.

3.15 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

I've previewed this race elsewhere - and you can look at that preview here...

In summary, it'll probably be Sea The Stars (and let's hope it is!). My each way shout is Cavalryman, and I'm against Fame and Glory.

4.45 Prix du Cadran

An excellent race, and very much the changing of the guard, I suspect. Yeats is having his last race before retirement and he'll be a hugely popular winner. But he's retiring for a reason, and I expect that his aching bones will give best this afternoon to some whipper-snapper in the line up.

Indeed, I've been burnt too many times by Kasbah Bliss to back that eminently capable monkey, so he's off the list too. The third favourite, Incanto Dream, has a lot to find on the book, and - in a race of this class - will struggle I feel.

Which brings me to the aforementioned talented upstart. I suspect that Askar Tau could well be the next perennial Cup horse, and his last two runs (and wins) in Group 2 affairs have put him right for a tilt at the big guns.

This is one of the best staying races for many a long year, with real strength in depth, and there are still two or three more with very credible winning chances, in particular Pointilliste and Alandi.

It's certainly not a race to punt too heavily in (unless you know something I don't!), but it should be a cracking battle down the Longchamp straight, and a perfectly fitting finale to an excellent two days of sport.

Let's hope STS proves himself the best horse of a generation, possibly ever (did I really just write that?!) with a scintillating triumph in the 'Triomphe.

Bonne chance tout le monde!


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7 replies
  1. anthony morgan says:

    the ones to be on today are—-
    1-20 CABARET
    1-55 DICK TURPIN
    2-30 MIDDAY
    3-15 SEA THE STARS
    4.45 ASKAR TAU
    5.15 POLIDINA


  2. Barry Shaw says:

    Well done! Went through the card with losers. Only See the Stars saved your total shame.
    What made you decide to show your ignorance by picking on a top French meeting to show us you can’t balance British, Irish, and French horses..?
    I will be watching you like a hawk when you get your feet on the ground and try to show me what you can do in the local British racing scene.
    To be honest, many of us think this is a site of a guy with an ego but with little inside contact or information to feed off..

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks Barry for the kind words and constructive criticism. Your comments are as refreshing as they are useful (i.e. not very).

      I have NO inside contacts or information, and have never professed to the same. Rather, I am a stats man who occasionally looks at form when he goes racing (like this weekend).

      I did the stats on one race, the Arc, and you’ll find that as well as nominating Sea The Stars, I also put up Cavalryman as the best against him, and Fame and Glory as a place lay.

      But you’re right – lots of people will judge me on winners, so that’s fine. If you think my ego is too big and my winning percentage too small, you know what to do my friend… I haven’t forced you to this website.

      Best Regards,

  3. Jim says:

    I find it hard to understand why anybody would read a blog and expect it to be 100% accurate in selecting winners of horse races. I cannot think of anywhere with that level of accuracy and to send messages without any positive contribution is not going to help anybody.

    On inside information, I was told not to back a horse in which I had a small interest by the trainer because he wasn’t sure it would go on the ground or see out the trip. It won – and I didn’t back it. All I do now is the opposite of what he says…..

    Keep up the good work Matt – you will ahve bad days and good days but as long as the good days outweigh the bad, I’m happy!

    And remember when they win – you’ve not had enough on and when thye lose – you’ve had too much on.

    best wishes


  4. roddo says:

    Iam somebody who has criticised Matt in the past.Id like to think mine was constructive,even though Matt didnt think so and yes on occasions he was a bit touchy.However the ATTACK by Barry Shaw is totally wrong and uncalled for.
    Matts website is one of the best going with fantastic contentent and somebody who has a very good knowledge of the game.Hes a stats man and hes going to get it wrong some of the time.I dont understand his comment about a guy with an ego.What i do know is Matt is a guy who puts a lot of work in and we benefit from it.Keep up the good work Matt.To you barry take Matts advice and leave.Ive just a feeling you are a bad loser,if you are, leave racing as you have to take losing days on the chin if you are to survive at this game.
    Cheers Roddo

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