I have already previewed the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe itself, but Longchamp, sorry, ParisLongchamp has plenty more betting opportunities this weekend, with no less than seven Group 1 contests on Sunday alone.
Saturday is slightly more low-key, but features the Group 1 Prix du Cadran and a trio of Group 2 contests which provide plenty of interest, and the prospect of markets which haven’t been stripped of value. It’s here we find the three best betting tips for Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe weekend:
One thing we don’t know about Arc weekend is the draw, and that can have a huge effect in certain races, particularly the sprint, the Prix de L’Abbaye, and to a lesser extent the Arc itself. That means that backing something like Battaash should be put off until the draw is known, especially at current odds.
The going is also unknown, but it is to some degree predictable. The assumption tends to be that the going will be on the soft side now that we’re in October, but that is far from standard, and all indications are that the ground will ride on the fast side of good.
Although there is the prospect of light showers at the weekend, that should not be enough to turn conditions at all testing. As such, I will be favouring those proven on a sound surface at the expense of proven mudlarks.
That in itself, of course, is the first gamble of the weekend, and I’m taking some of the risk out by concentrating on Saturday’s card, which is less likely to be rain-affected.
If there is a strong enough market, then any of the Group contests are fair game, and the question is about finding a reason why there will be more value now, as opposed to on the day.
For those who don’t mind betting odds on, the 5/6 available with Coral for Brundtland in the Prix Chaudenay looks something of a gift. The colt was talked as a possible Arc contender having won the Prix Niel last time.
But his trainer considers him a stayer, and he opted for this 1m7f contest instead. He looks head and shoulders above his rivals, and looks more like a 1/3 shot on form.
The 2m4f Prix du Cadran is another race which exposes the weakness in the French staying division, and Holdthasigreen, odds-on in the betting, must be taken on at those prices, given he’s an exposed six-year-old who has only once scored above listed level in his career.
That win came in the Prix Kergorlay at Deauville when beating the Hughie Morrison-trained pair Marmelo and Nearly Caught. Holdthasigreen is also unproven over the extreme trip of the Cadran, and while he ought to stay, this will almost certainly be run at a searching gallop thanks to the presence of Mille Et Mille.
He won the race when it was last staged at Longchamp, and was runner-up at Chantilly last year. His form has been mixed this season, but his third in the Group 2 Prix Vicomte Vigier at this track was almost on par with his best previous efforts, and he looks overpriced at 12/1 with Coral for a repeat victory - in what is not a strong race.
The Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite was tempting, but he finished well behind Mille Et Mille in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2016, and is less than half the price of that rival.
The 1m2f Prix Dollar has had a British-trained favourite in the ante-post betting lists, but it’s been the wrong one, with Addeybb swerving the meeting due to the quickish ground.
It’s taking people a while to catch on to the fact that Knight To Behold, trained by Harry Dunlop, is by far the likeliest winner. I must admit that I thought he would develop into a St Leger horse after he slammed Kew Gardens in the Lingfield Derby Trial, but Dunlop dropped him back in trip after he flopped at both Epsom and the Curragh.
He was very impressive when winning the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano at Deauville last time when cheekpieces were applied, beating the first three home from the Prix du Jockey Club in the process.
He may be open to further improvement given he’s unexposed at the trip, but the simple fact is that if he can repeat that performance, he will win on Saturday. It beggars belief that he’s as big as 13/2 with Paddy Power.
I would much rather have him on my side than new favourite Noor Al Hawa, who was fourth in the Jacques Le Marois behind Alpha Centauri, but beaten seven lengths in the end - and that form is not close to what the selection achieved at Deauville.