There’ll be plenty of interest in Newbury’s race card on Saturday with the Group 2 Betfred Hungerford Stakes and the Group 3 Betfred Geoffrey Freer the highlights. York’s Ebor meeting is also on the horizon with the potential clash of the summer between Gleneagles and Golden Horn.
However, for today’s piece I’d like to focus on action in France. Just a week ago Muhaarar was thrilling fans over the channel at Deauville when winning the Prix Maurice de Gheest. Without doubt the summer’s number one sprinter looks to have earned himself a break, before a likely return in October’s Champions Day meeting at Ascot.
This weekend the French track hosts more high-class action, with a three day meeting which includes the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois on Sunday. Andre Fabre’s Territories is a short priced favourite in an international field which could include Toormore and Estidhkaar. On Saturday attention turns to the potential French stars of the middle-distance. We are likely to see movement in the Arc market as Andre Fabre’s New Bay takes on his stable companion Ampere.
Ground is set to be quite testing this weekend, and there’s every possibility that this could be replicated in October’s Arc. Fabre and owner Khalid Abdullah have decided to keep New Bay to his own age group for the Prix Guillaume d'Ornano, which is run over 1m2f. The trainer said: “He will run in Deauville and he can act on any ground. ”
Beaten in the French Guineas when probably given a little too much to do, New Bay then swept passed the whole field to win the Prix Du Jockey Club at the end of May. A clash with Golden Horn in the Coral-Eclipse appeared on the cards, but Fabre feared a trip in the heat and the quick ground at Sandown would prove to be against his colt.
Both trainer and owner have a strong record in the Arc, though their last success together was back in 2006 with Rail Link. Khalid Abdullah has won the race twice in the last nine years. Workforce, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, took the event in 2010. Tomorrow’s event looks to have enough quality to test New Bay’s credentials as a serious Arc prospect.
His main challenge is likely to come from stable companion Ampere. He was beaten by the impressive Erupt in last month’s Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris. He didn’t get the clearest of runs that day, and though the winner did it well, Ampere remains very lightly raced and open to plenty of improvement. Storm The Stars was back in third that day, and he sets a decent standard.
Dariyan has also seen the back-end of Erupt this summer, when fourth in the Group 3 Prix du Lys Longines at Chantilly. He has since taken a Group 2 at Maisons-Laffitte, giving the form some credence. The Aga Khan’s colt is not without a chance on Saturday, but should find Fabre’s pair a little too classy.
Treve remains the favourite for the Arc in October with the aforementioned Erupt the other leading French challenger. With Golden Horn’s participation questionable, a strong performance from one of Fabre’s colts tomorrow should see them take high order in the market for Europe’s leading middle-distance event.