The newly refurbished and reopened ParisLongchamp – that’s not a typo, it’s one word now – hosts its first major meeting since the day Golden Horn won his Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, with both the French 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas returning from their temporary home at Deauville.
Arc day last season was dominated by British and Irish trained horses but they don’t appear to have the strongest of hands at this meeting, and I reckon both Classics can stay at home.
The betting suggests this is a match between OLMEDO and his recent conqueror Wooton, and I generally agree.
Olmedo was a much hyped two-year-old and we backed him on Arc day last season when he came second to Coolemore’s filly Happily, who somewhat let down that form in the English 1000 Guineas earlier this month.
However, Olmedo still beat subsequent Craven Stakes winner and 2000 Guineas third Masar on the day, and it looks the best form in the race.
Wooton is unbeaten and was full value for his recent Longchamp success despite the winning margin of a short head, but the ground is better in Paris today, despite a little rain in the forecast, and given Olmedo is the longer price at 11/4 I’m happy to chance he’ll reverse the form.
His trainer Jean-Claude Rouget won this last year with Brametot and has become a serial winner of these French Classics.
1pt win Olmedo @11/4, 14:35 Longchamp, Sunday
In the fillies’ race the favourites again look to have a strong hand, though Andre Fabre has sounded caution over the chances of Music Amica on account of the better ground.
She won the Prix de la Grotte impressively – which you can watch below – from several of today’s opponents, showing plenty of staying power to get up late on and ultimately win cosily.
I’m not sure she showed a turn of foot that time as those ahead of her put some distance between them when the pace quickened and the race might just have fallen into her lap on very soft ground – she looks more of a stayer than a miler.
She looks very good, though, and 9/2 is a nice enough price for a favourite in a race like this, but her stablemate WIND CHIMES looks a better bet at 9/1.
Wind Chimes was well behind Music Amica in fifth in that trial but Fabre has talked up her chances for the big one today.
“Wind Chimes had a difficult preparation for the Grotte but since then has worked really well, and she’s going to run a proper race. I think she has a good chance.”
Her form as a juvenile, where she was unbeaten, looks very strong and she put in some impressive performances coming from behind on good ground, which might be necessary for her chances.
She looks overpriced and exactly the type to run well for her brilliant trainer, however a wide draw of 13 will require plenty of luck in running, as she’ll have to be dropped in and ridden for a turn of foot.
That’s the main negative but the price is big enough.
Second favourite Polydream looks quite easy to back at 4/1 if you believe she was the best juvenile filly in France last season, however she’s had a setback in her preparation for this so hasn’t enjoyed a run already, and she had her colours lowered by Wild Illuision on Arc day last season.
She wasn’t given the best of rides that day and it’s not difficult to see her bouncing back, but there are too many negatives to back her at 4/1 – and I haven’t even mentioned how any rain would hurt her chances.
I’m going to throw two darts at this race, though, and BARKAA is my second selection after a very impressive win last time out over Soustraction – form which suggests she’s very much up to this level.
In contrast to Polydream, Barkaa has had three starts already this season and should be arriving hard fit, while she’s a winner on soft ground over further than this one mile trip so won’t be lacking for stamina.
She looked to have a tidy turn of foot last time out, and speed and stamina is the recipe for any good one.
Top Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon takes the ride, which is a big plus, and best odds of 7/1 seem juicy enough for a bet for an improving horse.
1pt win Barkaa @7/1, 15:15 Longchamp, Sunday
1pt win Wind Chimes @9/1, 15:15 Longchamp, Sunday