Alex Peperell is looking to Chantilly for a big price
Alex Peperell with his early picks for now and next year
PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE
The weight for age and sex allowance in place for the Arc makes it look almost impossible for anything to beat Enable (on paper). It’s likely that she will win easily and perhaps the only thing to do is either back her or just leave the race entirely. However, this is racing and she might have an off day and there are still places to be played for at the very least.
Zarak finally stepped up in trip to 1m4f for the first time in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and gained his well deserved Group 1 victory.The way he races I wasn’t sure why it took connections so long to take the step up in distance. His mother Zarkava is an unbeaten Arc winner so there can’t have been much doubt about him getting 1m4f.
He’s very much a hold-up horse and that means he can be susceptible to bad luck, which has happened on a few occasions. In the Prix Ganay earlier in the year he got trapped in a pocket and conceded first run to Cloth Of Stars which probably cost him the race. Chasing Almanzor home twice last season is very strong form, he didn’t quite have the pace in the 1m1f Dubai Turf over in Meydan in March but still ran a decent race in fourth.
Being a supremely strong traveller he always catches the eye and I think this new trip could bring out the best in him. He’s beautifully bred, really talented and an all-round solid performer that’s unexposed at the distance.To beat Enable is a tough ask, but he’ll run on well from the back in the Arc and can definitely pick up the pieces late on. If John Gosden’s filly has an off day then he could be the one to capitalise and in my eyes has massive place claims at the very least. There is plenty of 20/1 available as I’m writing this and if you ask me, that’s a pretty decent price.
Shaping up to be a very intriguing race with lots going in with chances. Crystal Ocean advertised his claims at Goodwood with a very impressive success over Khalidi. Defoe stepped up once again to extend his unbeaten run to four in beating his elders in the Geoffrey Freer.
Throw in Irish Derby winner Capri and Goodwood Cup victor Stradivarius and you’ve got a cracker of a race.Not to mention Rekindling who showed improvement when stepping up in trip to win the Curragh Cup, Coronet the Ribblesdale winner who should stay but also has the Park Hill as an option and the Bahrain Trophy victor Raheen House.
Despite all the claims you can make for many of the contenders here, if Crystal Ocean gets the trip then I think he’ll be far too good. Still lightly raced, he managed to put it all together at Goodwood when beating Khalidi and could hardly have looked any better in doing so. The experience of that contest will have done him the world of good and his form behind Permian is very strong.
He seems to have a very good blend of speed and stamina.Sir Michael Stoute did the Gordon Stakes/St Leger double with Conduit in 2008 and if given the opportunity I think Crystal Ocean will show that history can repeat itself.4/1 isn’t an overly juicy price, but I think his level of class is underestimated amongst the competitive market.
LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT SEASON
Now, you might think I’m mad talking about the 2018 Flat season as we’ve still got the remainder of the current campaign and the National Hunt season to come first. But I’ve got my eye on what could be a shrewd little bet come next June.
The Ascot Gold Cup is such a prestigious race and we often see the same horses time and time again in it. It’d be good to see Big Orange and Order Of St George both line up again next year and they are both obviously right out of the top drawer. By the time Royal Ascot comes around though, they’ll be six and seven years old respectively and it might be that a young up and coming stayer can wrestle the division out of their grasps.
UAE King has looked by no means the most straightforward this season, especially in his recent wins at Sandown and Ascot, but he has bundles of ability. He was still green at Ascot,despite it being his sixth start,hanging right when first asked for his effort. But when Andrea Atzeni got the message across the horse responded and put the race to bed in a matter of strides. It was a striking turn of foot in a two-mile race.
By Frankel out of Zomaradah,he’s therefore a half brother to the excellent Dubawi.The pedigree suggests he can go to the very top and he stays so strongly. He still looks a little babyish and Roger Varian will be taking his time with him, but I have no doubts about the ability he possesses.UAE King gets two miles at the age of three no problem, with another winter on his back he can be a force to be reckoned with as a four-year-old.
Backing a horse for Royal Ascot at this time does seem a little odd, I get that. But bearing in mind the potential that this horse has, a price of 33/1 for next year’s Gold Cup could be an absolute steal.
LAST MONTH’S ACTION
Unfortunately Dal Harraild couldn’t take his chance in the Goodwood Cup as he was found to be lame. I was gutted about that as I thought he had a massive chance going into the race.Crystal Ocean undertook his engagement at Glorious Goodwood as opposed to the Great Voltigeur, after his performance in that race I can’t help but feel he could be a Group 2York winner rather than a Group 3 Goodwood winner, but that’s racing! He now looks set for a tilt at the St Leger and should be going close if he stays the trip. Finally Blakeney Point ran a blinder on the Sussex Downs only going down a head to Soldier In Action, I’ll be keeping the faith in him!