Hoping for a Bad start to Arc weekend

Ascot & Longchamp selections Saturday 2nd October

It is good to see the Saturday card at Longchamp strengthened with two Group 1 races on the day, rather than leave all the top class action to Arc day itself, where it could get lost in the shadow of the feature race. Indeed the whole card is quality in Paris and I am saving myself for the final group race for an each-way selection. Ascot stages a cracking card in Britain, in conditions that are sure to be testing by mid-afternoon. I have selections from three races on the card.

Longchamp 4.00: Saiydabad

Unbeaten out of group 1 company, SAIYDABAD looks a value bet to keep at least one major prize at home in France on a weekend when the home horses are expected to find things tough.

Jean-Claude Rouget’s charge only saw a racecourse for the first time in March, but eased through the ranks in the spring, winning two ordinary races before stepping up successfully to listed class at Chantilly. From there he took on the best to be fourth in the French Derby (probably came from too far back) and then did not stay in the Grand Prix de Paris. However back down in both grade and trip, he resumed winning ways a Group 3 over course and distance last month. Whilst he seems to act on any ground, he is probably better on a sound surface and it sounds like the worst of the weather won’t arrive until after racing today.

Whilst the British and Irish challenge is strong, Saiydabad looks like he belongs in Group 2 company and can be relied upon to run his usual fine race.

Ascot 2.40: Quickthorn

A winner of a handicap off 84 at Haydock in May, the rise of QUICKTHORN has been meteoric this season and he can confirm his ability at group level at Ascot today.

He went up a stone for that initial win, but easily overcome that ratings increase to win over course and distance at the Royal meeting where he fairly sluiced through going that made the track almost unraceable on the day. It could well be that conditions are not far short of that by race time and that might just play against joint favourite currently Hukum, who clearly has some sort of breathing issue that could be put under more pressure by very testing going.

In more recent weeks Quickthorn was just touched off in the Ebor, and then ran an extraordinary race to win a conditions stakes at Salisbury in a flag start when giving the opposition well over 10l at the start. He should give no such issues at the start today back with the usual stalls in place. Whilst he is back down to 12f here, the worsening conditions should ensure his stamina kicks into play.

Ascot 3.15: Glen Shiel

GLEN SHIEL returns to the scene of his greatest win today as the Champions Day sprint winner of 2020 tries to follow up over course and distance.

He clearly revels in soft ground and ran another cracker here at the Royal meeting in the Golden Jubilee when just outpointed by Dream of Dreams in similar conditions. Whilst he was only beaten 2l into sixth in the July Cup on quick ground next time, he has struggled on quicker going on his last two starts.

However a return to Group 3 company (the conditions of the race means he carries no penalty for winning that Group 1 here last autumn), plus the deepening ground should combine to return him to winning ways.

Ascot 3.50: Tomfre & Aldaary

Two horses for whom soft ground will be no issue are fancied here – and two horses who might be yet to reach their absolute peak and who might become too good for handicaps in time.

TOMFRE enjoyed a highly successful autumn last year once the ground had turned and won back to back races at Doncaster at their final two fixtures of 2020 in testing conditions. The stiff 7f clearly played to his strengths there and a think Ascot will suit him down to the ground, especially in a cavalry charge such as this. Whilst he was behind a few of these in listed company at Newbury last time, the going was less testing that day, and a likely strong pace too should see Tomfre in a better light. He is only 2lbs higher than for his last win.

ALDAARY is a horse I have long thought capable of winning a big prize – but only once the going turns soft like today. He made a big impression when winning a heavy ground novice at Leicester at the back end of last season, and then dotted up in the style of a group horse on his return to the track over this course and distance in May, with a bit of cut. He was left with too much ground to make up on his next start at Goodwood, and since then he has had to face quick going in three subsequent starts. Whilst he ran well enough on each time, I do feel that he wasn’t able to quite give his best on the firm going and we will see the true Aldaary today.

Recommended bets:

1pt each-way – Saiydabad – 4.00 Longchamp – 6/1 general (Skybet 1/5 odds 1st 4)

1pt win – Quickthorn – 2.40 Ascot – 100-30 Bet 365, William Hill

1pt win – Glen Shiel – 3.15 Ascot – 9/2 William Hill

1pt each-way – Tomfre – 3.50 Ascot – 9/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)

1pt each-way – Aldaary 3.50 Ascot – 5/1 general (Skybet 1/5 odds 1st 6)

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