THERE is no doubt that Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was a bookies race with winner Solemia being priced at just over 40-1 but it could all have been so different.
When Christophe Soumillon swooped into the lead on Japanese raider Orfevre, who was the subject of a wholesale plunge before the race and was sent off 7-2 favourite, a furlong and a half from home, the contest looked over.
But having looked in full control, the leader started to idle with his lead rapidly diminishing before the winner headed him in the last few strides to save us a whopper payout.
Soumillon has been criticised in some quarters for going for home too early but it’s easy to say that when things don’t work out and his horse looked a clear winner inside the final furlong.
I actually feel sorry for Christophe who must have been gutted to go so close and the Japanese deserve credit for keep attempting to win this championship event.
This was the 12th time that they have tried and Orfevre joins El Condor Pasa (1999) and Nakayama Festa (2010) as the third Japanese horse to fill the unlucky second position.
Returning to the domestic action, this weekend The Curragh hosts the Irish Cesarewitch which is always a fierce betting heat and I rather like the look of Monica Dowdall Blake’s Shu Lewis.
I’ve always liked this mare since she made a winning debut in a bumper at Punchestown last year and she has so much class.
he went on to win three bumpers on the trot but took a while to get off the mark on the Flat, winning her maiden last time with a comfortable four and a quarter length victory over Clara Bel La at Gowran Park.
But it was her run before that that really caught my attention when she was beaten less than five lengths by Royal Diamond at 100-1 in the Irish St Leger, when her trainer was actually a little disappointed as she felt that the opposition didn’t go fast enough for her charge.
My other fancy this week is Salhooda in the Silken Glider Stakes on the same card at The Curragh.
The Nayef filly got off the mark at the second time of asking in a fillies maiden at the same venue last month, when putting her head in front in the final strides to master Hanky Panky by a head.
There was three and a quarter lengths back to the third and the front two looked very smart and it will be interesting to see how the runner-up gets on if she takes up her entry at Navan on Wednesday.
The Silken Glider, which is now called the Staffordstown Stud Stakes, is over a furlong further than her last start but the way in which she came late makes me think that this will be to her advantage.
Her trainer Dermot Weld clearly thinks a bit of her as he has given her entries in both the Irish 1,000 Guineas and Irish Oaks for next year.
No Premiership action this week due to the World Cup qualifiers so I’m going to turn my attention to Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix and I quite like the look of Jenson Button at 13-2.
Last year the McLaren man was third in qualifying and fourth in the actual race and he is quite confident that he can produce his best ever performance there this time.
It’s a tricky circuit to get into a flow as the first sector has long straights, while the final sector is more like a street circuit but my selection’s pace in recent events has been extremely good and puts him in good stead.
Sunday Korea 7am Jenson Button
Sunday The Curragh 2.40pm Salhooda
Sunday The Curragh 5pm Shu Lewis