October's UK Horse Racing Action With Tips from Malcolm Heyhoe
By Malcolm Heyhoe
The first Sunday in October can mean only one thing and that's Paris in the autumn for the Prix de l'Ac de Triomphe at Longchamp on October 1. Not content with staging Europe's premier Group1 contest for middle-distance racehorses, the French racing authorities have done plenty to develop this day as a fixture to match next month's Breeders' Cup bonanza at Churchill Downs, Kentucky
As well as the Arc, there will be five more Group One contests on a stupendous Sunday's action for racing fans. Knowing where to start as a punter is half-the secret to success on a busy and brilliant day.
As ever the name of French trainer Andre Fabre is the essential starting-point for trying to find the winner of the Arc. No trainer has done as supremely well in the great race as the French master, successful five times since 1992 and as concerned as ever to land a sixth Arc to his recent tally.
Fabre supplies a three-pronged attack to this year's prize beginning with Hurricane Run, last year's Arc hero who is sure to be thereabouts again but struggled to land a below-par renewal of the King George at Ascot in July. Perhaps this time around he will be upstaged by his hugely talented stable companion Shirocco, who has been aimed at the Longchamp spectacular all season according to connections.
Getting stronger and better with age, Shirocco should be hard to beat in the Arc especially if the ground enjoys any give in it on Arc day. Andre Fabre's horse is at his best with cut underfoot. The same wouldn't be true of Japanese superstar, Deep Impact, whose connections are absolutely set on winning the Arc. Whether this top-notch colt can overcome unsuitable ground, the lack of prep race and the transition to a European climate is doubtful but he clearly adds spice to a cracking contest.
The rest of the Arc card features five more Group one races with Reverence likely to take the world of beating in the Prix de l'Abbaye over the minimum trip while the possibility of a clash between Ouija Board and Alexandrova in the Prix de l'Opera is a mouth-watering prospect. Elsewhere Andre Fabre will be attempting to better his record as the leading French-based trainer with his three-year-olds of particular note. Fabre tends to target the Prix du Cadran on Arc day each season, and his leading entry should be noted.
It's a quiet weekend after the thrills of spills of the Arc and Cambridgeshire weekend with Ascot staging the day's premier meeting on October 7. As ever the two-year-old sprinters take centre stage in the Cornwallis Stakes and the Willie Haggas-trained Enticing could be an interesting runner in this 5f event.
Over at York there's a traditionally insoluble afternoon of large field and tricky handicaps headed by the Coral Sprint Trophy. Given the shock results in this 6f handicap it's no wonder that bookmakers are keen to sponsor such races. On the same card the two-year-olds add some respectability to proceedings courtesy of the Listed Rockingham Stakes and the Barry Hills-trained Captain Marvelous is name to look out for among the entries.
It's top drawer action at Newmarket on Champions Day, October 14, with two Group 1 contests heading an afternoon of superb action. Throw in the second leg of the autumn double for good measure, stir in the Rockfel, Challenge and Darley Stakes and you have the recipe for a perfect day's racing.
When it comes to finding the winner of the Champion Stakes, looking for something fresh isn't a bad policy. Most of the winners of this mile and a quarter contest haven't endured the rigours of a long hard season. That's certainly true of Derby hero Sir Percy and Henry Cecil's rapid improver Multi Dimensional but whether these talented three-year-olds are up to lowering the colours of the older horses is open to question.
In the Challenge Stakes John Gosden's Sleeping Indian could well prove hard to beat while Sir Gerard can take the Darley Stakes before heading off to Dubai and the winter sun. The James Fanshawe-trained colt has been sold to Sheikh Mohammed and is almost certain to race next season in the deep blue Godolphin colours.
In the Dewhurst all eyes will be upon Jim Bolger's Teofilo should he make this Group1 contest his last race of a scintillating two-year-old season. This terrific prospect would tackle the world of beating but in his absence the Paul Cole-trained Strategic Prince might be the one to take advantage. He isn't in Teofilo's class but this has been his target since a pattern success at Goodwood in early August.
The main Flat action switches to Newbury after the high-points of Champions day and John Gosden's Broghill could be a name to note in the October Yearling Stakes on October 20, the first day of Newbury's two-day meeting that now includes the Racing Post Trophy on October 21. Mick Channon will be hoping that Halicarnassus can build upon his big reputation in that final Group 1 prize for juveniles while Aidan O'Brien will be attempting to build upon his bright record in the race and any runners from his Ballydoyle operation should be noted.
On the same day as hosting the Racing Post Trophy, Newbury also stages the Horris Hill Stakes and Jeremy Noseda's Ready for Spring is being primed to take this prize while in the St Simon Stakes Geoff Wragg will be hoping that Dragon Dancer can lose his maiden tag at last. It seems scarcely believable that this frustrating type almost landed the Derby back in June at 66-1.
The dying embers of the 2006 turf Flat season share the spoils at Newmarket on October 28 with jump racing at Wetherby. At the former track there's a valuable two-year-old contest in the guise of the Zetland Stakes and any runner from the Mark Johnston squad should be heeded here while over at Wetherby Star de Mohaison would have the look of a good thing if he begins his season in the Charlie Hall Chase. Finally, some of the top two-mile chasers will be strutting their stuff in the William Hill Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter and the outcome of this grade prize will be a pointer to the pecking order amongst the two-mile titans.
About the Author
Malcolm Heyhoe writes weekly horse racing articles for the UK horse racing betting site http://www.gg.com
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