Filly’s niggles to Enable French win?
The French capital will be abuzz as it hosts one of the world’s most prestigious horse races, the Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe
For the second weekend running, we are set for sporting passion in Paris.
The Ryder Cup will be a hard act to follow, but the French capital will be abuzz as it hosts one of the world’s most prestigious horse races, the Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.
The French have not won the race since 2014, yet there is confidence in their main hope Waldgeist, who represents the powerful stable of Andre Fabre. His price has shortened this week from 8-1 to 6-1.
Nevertheless, standing in the way of all the Arc hopefuls is 2017’s winner Enable, whom bookmakers quote at a fairly miserly even money to register back-to-back wins.
Although John Gosden’s filly may again make it a memorable visit to France for top jockey Frankie Dettori, there are a number of factors that suggest the bookies could end up pocketing the cash.
First, because of knee issues, Enable has contested only one race since 2017’s triumph, and that was on the all-weather track at Kempton Park. Second, she has never raced at Longchamp, as the 2017 Arc was switched to Chantilly.
The winner’s purse for this mile-and-a-half contest is £2.5m, which is presumably why connections of another filly, Sea Of Class, have stumped up nearly R2m to get a slot in the final field.
Sea Of Class is the firm 7-2 second favourite.
Fabre, who has won this race seven times, looks set to saddle four runners, including 2017’s runner-up Cloth Of Stars, who is surely overpriced at 40-1.
The feature event at Turffontein on Saturday is the Joburg Spring Challenge (grade2), and trainer Mike de Kock holds a strong hand with three runners: Soqrat, Alyaasaat and Noble Secret. Judged on his excellent win at Greyville in July, Soqrat is likely to be sent off favourite, although it is worth noting he is 2kg worse off this time with stablemate Alyaasaat.
Chase Maujean rides Alyaasaat for the first time and will be keen to make the most of this rare opportunity for one of the country’s most powerful stables. There may be precious little to choose between the two Aussie-bred colts at the line.
Noble Secret looks to have little chance conceding more than 5kg to his stable companions, but New Predator definitely enters calculations on his third outing this term.
De Kock has prospects of landing a feature double as last season’s SA Fillies Classic heroine Takingthepeace makes her seasonal bow in the Joburg Spring Fillies & Mares Challenge. If the daughter of Visionaire is "ring rusty", they have solid back-up in the form of the Var filly Ghaalla.