Bjorn Nielsen. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/David M. Benett
Bjorn Nielsen. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/David M. Benett

Cape Town-born Bjorn Nielsen, a leading international owner-breeder, believes his champion stayer Stradivarius can play a leading role in Europe’s richest race, the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris on October 4.                

This despite Nielsen’s Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup winner being beaten in a photo-finish in his build-up race at Longchamp last Sunday.

Nielsen — a hedge fund trader and investor — has dipped his toes in the SA bloodstock market and had his first winner, Trickster, at Scottsville in June.

After the race, winning trainer Justin Snaith commented: “Welcome to SA, Bjorn Nielsen. I am very fortunate to be training for him. He has invested heavily in SA and is a top man.”

Speaking to the media after Sunday’s Prix Foy, Nielsen said: “They walked through [the race] and Frankie [Dettori] said he probably should have made it, but that’s the way it goes.

“It was a sprint finish and he got beaten by a neck so it was a good trial. I’ll have to see what John [Gosden] thinks,” added the 63-year-old Nielsen.

Gosden, who already has star mare Enable in the Arc, seemed to hint that Stradivarius might take his chance, pointing out that the Paris race will be run at a “more suitable tempo” for a horse who has dominated races such as the Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup throughout his career.

“I was very happy with his run as a trial and liked the way he finished out and he’s not had the hardest of races. I would have no hesitation in coming back for the Arc,” said Gosden.

UK bookmakers Ladbrokes quote Stradivarius at 16-1 and their market suggests October’s race is a straight match between Love (6-4) and Enable (9-4).

However, it might be unwise to write off the chance of the French filly Raabihah even though she was beaten into second place in Prix Vermeille on Sunday.

Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget said: “We’ll see how she is in a fortnight, but she’s proved she’s the best three-year-old filly in France.”

Jockey Cristian Demuro certainly set Raabihah a tough task in Sunday’s race having his mount at the rear of the field and then coming wide to make his challenge in the straight. The current Arc price of 20-1 looks tempting, particularly if punters can get 4-1 for a place.

The horse who beat Stradivarius in the Prix Foy was trainer Aidan O’Brien’s 2019 Investec Derby winner Anthony van Dyck. The Irish trainer, who also won Saturday’s Champion Stakes in Ireland with Magical, is considering an Australian campaign which would take in the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.

Arc de Triomphe betting

(Paris, October 4)

6-4 Love

9-4 Enable

12-1 Magical, Ghaiyyath

16-1 Mogul, Stradivarius

20-1 Raabihah

25-1 Others

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