As the racing world gears up for Arc weekend, you would have thought the French would have targeted getting their meeting of the year off to the best possible start, but the visitors have other ideas.
Of the last 25 runnings of the Prix De l’Abbaye, just two have been won by the ‘home’ nation, Wizz Kidd in 2012 and Marchand d’Or in 2008, although that was a re-running after the original race was declared void.
To say the UK and Irish raiders have a good record in this race is somewhat of an understatement.
As the French look to get some sort of grasp on the 5f sprint, we take a look at the leading raiders from these shores looking to continue a familiar pattern.
A devastating performance in the Wetherbys Super Sprint at Newbury back in July was probably this filly’s best showing so far, and followed that run with a nice victory in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes.
With wins on ground ranging from ‘Soft’ to ‘Good to Firm’ it shouldn’t matter how conditions turn out, as Richard Hannon’s charge bids to become the first two-year-old to take this race since Sigy in 1978.
One word of caution though, the daughter of Kodiak is entered in the Cheveley Park Stakes this Saturday, so her participation at Longchamp could be at doubt with her trainer saying there is a ‘small chance’ that she will run. However, should she triumph this weekend and then take her chance in France, expect the current price to have gone.
This William Haggas-trained four-year-old was a well backed fifth in the Stewards’ Cup, before overcoming a stumble at the start and traffic issues to run out a ready winner of the Portland Handicap last time out.
He will need to be supplemented for this race, but that looks well on the cards as he bids to step up to Group company for the first time.
Jockey Paul Hanagan has expressed how ‘he has a great chance’, so long as the ground doesn’t get too soft, but with little rain forecast, that shouldn’t be a problem.
With doubts about a number of the others in the current market, this fast improver looks a sure fire bet to go close on October 5, and well worth backing before his price shortens.
Undoubtedly top class, this four-time Group 1 winning sprinter has never really flourished in this race.
The fact that he has finished sixth, fifth and third in his trio of appearances at the course can probably be put down to the unsuitably soft ground, with Eddie Lynam’s charge liking a solid surface.
Of his 43 career runs, just three have come on ground described as ‘Soft’ or ‘Heavy’, two of them in this race.
But with the track drying out this could be his best chance to add a victory in France to his roll call of wins this season that has seen him take the Palace House Stakes, Kings Stand Stakes and the Nunthorpe.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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