Fran Berry column including Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp

Safe Voyage is fancied in France
Safe Voyage is fancied in France

Fran Berry provides his expert insight ahead of Sunday's super action from ParisLongchamp, featuring the Arc and the Abbaye.

On Sunday’s stellar ParisLongchamp card there’s an Irish interest in the opening Marcel Boussac as Albigna bids to bounce back from what initially looked a disappointing run in the Moyglare.

It was only when Shane Foley said in an interview that I was reminded of the fact that she was beaten just two and a bit lengths which wasn't the end of the world given she was found to be in season.

That wasn’t a surprise to hear as she was playing up beforehand but another theory I have – and it’s just an idea – is that she’s a half-sister to Polybius who I rode a few times and needed holding up and playing late.

Albigna seemed to thrive being held onto over six furlongs on her first couple of starts and she possible got a bit embroiled too early in the Moyglare. Going up to a mile on Sunday I can see them going back to waiting tactics which might just help.

Armory runs for Aidan O’Brien in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and it might give another indication as to just how good Pinatubo is. Armory ran very well in the National Stakes, second to the superstar of his generation, and he won’t be out of place in this field.

Victor Ludorum seems to be very well regarded by Andre Fabre and it’ll be interesting to see how the formlines work out. He might just have the measure of O'Brien's colt.

Sit back and enjoy the Arc de Triomphe. Hopefully everything goes to script for Enable and Frankie Dettori as there’s not much more to say about her.

She’s been sensational this season and seems to be as good as ever. It was good to see her go and do what she did in the Yorkshire Oaks as the King George battle with Crystal Ocean could have taken a great deal out of her.

The only dangers for me are the three-year-old colts Japan and Sottsass, and if you asked me for a bet then it’d be Japan each-way. He’ll relish the step back up to a mile and a half and has course winning form.

He’s been trained for the race from a good way back now and it’ll help Ryan Moore to be drawn alongside Enable. You’d rather you were out there in stall 10 alongside the favourite than houses in stall one like Sottsass, who is going to need some luck late on you suspect.

I’d also give an honourable mention to Nagano Gold, who has since shown his Hardwicke run to be no fluke. He’d be more like 20/1 if he were trained in England or Ireland but you can get double those odds.

Mehdaayih has some great form heading into the Prix de l’Opera and her Deirdre form from the Nassau worked out well with that one running a huge race in the Irish Champion. I also felt Mehdaayih’s Goodwood effort could be marked up as she and Hermosa got racing far too early and Oisin Murphy swooped to pick their pocket.

Pink Dogwood is a massive price here and obviously has a lot to prove now but in fairness it’s the first time she’s got soft ground since winning at Navan earlier in the year and you wouldn’t put it past O’Brien pulling a rabbit out of the hat with her at some stage this autumn.

It’s a day for celebrating the stars and I’ll be cheering on Battaash in the Prix de l’Abbaye. Hopefully he can take his travelling well and on the back of that sensational Nunthorpe win at York he’s impossible to oppose.

You can make for any amount of his rivals running well but if the real Battaash turns up then they’re playing for places only.

The Prix de la Foret can throw up the odd funny result and it’s an open looking renewal. Glorious Journey was good at Newbury and has been kept for this since but I’d tempted by Safe Voyage who possibly wasn’t at his best when back in third that day.

He still ran well but he’s best when fresh and his form earlier in the season, especially the close third to Romanised on ground that was too quick for him in the Minstrel Stakes, brings him right into the equation.


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