Sky Sports Racing's Alex Hammond reflects on the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe before looking ahead to Future Champions Weekend at Newmarket.
Alex, you were covering Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day for Sky Sports Racing, sum up your experience of the new ParisLongchamp and what about Enable? Would you like to see her retired now or does she have more to offer as a six-year-old?
If you are lucky, there are certain days in your working life that you feel like you are part of a special occasion and ParisLongchamp on Sunday definitely fell into that category. I hadn’t been to the famous racecourse for more than a quarter of a century and my memory of the place had faded. I recall my previous experience was of a hectic venue with escalators, very little room for manoeuvre and having to make your way to the grandstand hours before the big race in order to get a decent vantage point. The new ParisLongchamp couldn’t be more removed from that. The brand new grandstand is 160m long and offers panoramic views, but it’s not just about size or vista, the place feels remarkable intimate and as you’d expect, decidedly Parisian; stylish, artistic and very chic. It was all about team work for the Sky Sports Racing crew and everyone bought into the occasion and worked incredibly hard to try to capture the buzz of this special event. I hope we managed to convey the unique atmosphere to everyone watching and you all enjoyed the experience as much as we did; it was a special day.
As for Enable, she didn’t read the script did she? Joking aside, when we arrived in Paris on Saturday it was chucking it down and the heavy showers didn’t abate until Sunday lunchtime. The heavy ground conspired against her sadly and despite the underfoot conditions, she ran a remarkable race to finish second. Hopefully you guys heeded my advice and had a little wager on Waldgeist! I don’t imagine we’ll see her as a six year old, but I would love to see her at Ascot on Champions Day. It would be wonderful to give her a great British send off and I think she’d win the Champion Stakes despite it being over a mile and a quarter.
We have superb G1 juvenile action at Newmarket this weekend in the Fillies’ Mile & Dewhurst, is it a penalty kick for Pinatubo and can you give us the double?
It’s a penalty kick for Pinatubo in the Dewhurst and the rest may as well stay at home. He’s a monster and regardless of what he could achieve next season, he looks invincible this year. The Fillies’ Mile isn’t quite so straightforward, so should offer us the possibility of grabbing a bit of value. Quadrilateral is Sky Bet’s 9/4 favourite having been supplemented for the race at a cost of £40,000 after a wide margin win at Newbury in a conditions race. She is now unbeaten in two starts and looks an exciting prospect, but she’s still raw. Jessica Harrington is enjoying a purple patch with her juvenile fillies with group 1 wins in the Cheveley Park Stakes with Millisle and the Prix Marcel Boussac with Albigna. She saddles Cayenne Pepper who is a bit more streetwise having won all three of her outings. However, it’s another of the supplementary entries I’m going with here. I was at Doncaster’s Leger meeting for Sky Sports Racing getting battered by the strong winds when (appropriately given the conditions) Powerful Breeze won the May Hill Stakes for Hugo Palmer. The wining time wasn’t overwhelming, but the wind was debilitating and must be taken into account when considering the form. The Doncaster race has been a stepping stone to the Fillies’ Mile in the past, most recently by Laurens, and I hope this filly can continue her progression. She’s 11/2 with Sky Bet.
Finally, if you could crack the Cesarewitch puzzle please that would be much appreciated?!
You always leave the best ‘til last! Buildmeupbuttercup is Sky Bet’s 4/1 favourite, but I think you’ll agree, that feels mighty short in a race like this, even given that trainer Willie Mullins is teaming up with Frankie Dettori. This is a race Sir Mark Prescott is yet to win and when he was a guest on The Debate on our channel in early September, he said was keen to win the contest. Timoshenko was the horse we discussed then, but another contender has emerged from Heath House Stables, providing he gets a run. Land Of Oz needs three horses to come out of the 2m 2f handicap to get in, so there’s a bit of a waiting game if you fancy him, but he ticks lots of boxes. He’s won six of his last seven starts and is progressing nicely and the three-year-old proved he had the stamina for the trip when winning the trial last month. If he gets in it will be by the skin of his teeth, but he’s bound to run a big race if he does. He’s 8/1 with Sky Bet and is on my shortlist. At a slightly bigger price I also want Sneaky Getaway on my side. Trained in Ireland by Emmet Mullins (nephew of Willie) this horse is incredibly lightly raced for a six-year-old. In his career he was won four of his nine starts, with the first five of his outings in bumpers. Since switching to the flat he’s won two from four and can be forgiven his defeat at Doncaster last time out as it was in the Doncaster Cup behind Stradivarius. This handicap will be run much more to his liking and is back in his grade, so at 12/1 I hope he can run into a place. It’s devilishly difficult, so best of luck!