I have been fortunate to attend this meeting on three occasions and everyone of them has been a real treat. From backing Helissio with more money than I should have and then shouting him home, to getting in to the Parade Ring before the race by following in Sheik Mohammed and his entourage. It is just a magical day in the way that Cheltenham is a magical festival. Of course it’s loads better if you can back the winner. So, on the off chance that you might be going let’s see if we can find the winner.
The race revolves, for me, around 9 horses. Nine horses that have the class to win the best, open, flat, middle distance race in the world. How did we get it down to eight, simple we worked our way through the field and eliminated those who havent shown the requirements of an Arc winner.
Flintshire – simply hasn’t delivered what everyone said he would. Al Kazeem – peaked last year and doesn’t look the force of 2013, Ivanhowe and Spiritjim – not good enough, Chiquita, interesting and obviously talented, but mature enough to win this race – no. Sijan’s Saga, lacks the touch of class needed, Montviron is there for free tickets, Prince Gibraltar was a line call, Free Port Lux would be a shock winner, Dolniya, is improving but not fast enough for this race and that leaves us with 9.
That leaves us with our nine fancied runners and we break them down like this.
Ruler of the World – ran to his personal best when beating Flintshire in his latest race and I see no reason why Flintshire would reverse the form. However, I think that is as good as Ruler of the world is and I think you need to run better than he is capable of to win this race.
Gold Ship – The first of our Japanese runners, oh how they love this race since winning it. Gold Ship ran to a personal best when beaten by Harp Star and I have to believe that in a fairly run race will be beaten again by Harp Star.
Just A Way – May be the best horse in the race. This horse is a machine over a mile but I keep thinking the trainer has entered him in the wrong race. He was electric in Meydan over 8f – I just don’t get this trip and he wont win unless they crawl.
Treve – The most impressive winner I have ever seen of this race. A turn of foot to die for at the end of a race. Sadly her ability this year has not shone through – Her trainer says its all systems go now – if that is to be believed – she wins.
Ectot – The Co-favourite. Drawn in 11 where jockey Gregory Benoist says is perfect. To me this horses price is all about potential. So far he hasn’t done enough to win this race, on paper. He would need to improve another 7lbs and whilst that’s possible, how can I know that? I will leave this one, to be proved wrong.
Kingston Hill – No doubt has a stayers chance, if they go a clip. The race has to fall apart for him to win. He has an awful draw and either goes to the front to outstay them, like Helissio did, or he sits and waits and hopes they go too quickly. Best chance of winning is to lead. If I saw him do that and get to the front easily, in a race where no-one wants to lead then I would be backing him in running at big prices.
Taghrooda – The real deal. Love her to bits ,since we tipped he to win the Oaks and then to destroy the boys in the King George before winning the Yorkshire Oaks. She is tough, versatile and physically imposing. Reminds me of Ouija Board. She will need a pace to run at and luck in running from 15 but has real class. The win would crown the career of jockey Paul Hanagan as well.
Harp Star – The highlight Japanese runner for me. Might just improve enough to win this race but inexperience I see as the biggest negative. If things go well then this son of Japanese sensation, Deep Impact will be fighting out the finish.
Tapestry – Beaten by Taghrooda and they say has improved since then. Would need to in order to take a hand in this race but I think this is trainer Aiden O’Briens best chance. The best jockey in the world is riding – Ryan Moore, and the draw of 8 is OK.
So thats the line-up and after going through this excercise I now know the winner and the placed horses.
Taghrooda will test her most and Harp Star will be the only boy to give these two fillies anything to worry about.
I will also be having a trifecta on the three of them – If I can find someone who takes it – update on the day.