ANTE POST

Alex Peperell is look­ing to Chan­tilly for a big price

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

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.

ST LEGER

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!

UAE King

Crys­tal Ocean

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