The Qatar festival of the Arc weekend in ParisLongchamp starts on Saturday with five Group races including two Groups 1. The Qatar Prix du Cadran (Gr1), run over 2m4f, and the newly promoted Qatar Prix de Royallieu (Gr1), for fillies & mares over 1m6f, are the main features on the card.
The “Cadran” is one of the oldest races of the French program since it was created in 1837. This time it brings together ten runners including the defending champion, Call the Wind (Frankel), homebred by the American owner George Strawbridge. facing him is the invincible Stradivarius’s vassal on the British marathons this season, Dee Ex Bee (Farhh), who has finished three times second to the stayers’ champion lately. The grey Way To Paris (Champs Elysees), who was even considered for a tilt at the Arc itslef, now has a place among the best stayers in Europe, with HoldthasiGreen (Hold that Tiger) returning after a break in the middle of the season.
The 3-year-olds run on the same staying division this season are in the Qatar Prix Chaudenay (Gr2). They are ten, too, in a very open race where we will mention San Huberto (Speighstown), third in the Belmont Derby in New York, Moonlight Spirit (Dubawi), easy winner recently of the Prix de Lutèce (Gr2), the designated prep race, the winner of the Royal Ascot feature Queen’s Vase (Gr3), Dashing Willoughby (Nathaniel), and the 3rd in the St Leger (Gr1) Nayef Road (Galileo). Two French fillies, Muette (Deep Impact) and Golden Box (Kitten’s Joy), face the colts and try to emulate Shankardeh, winner of the race in 2011.
These two could have tried their luck over the 14 furlongs of the Qatar Prix de Royallieu (Gr1), which will be Group 1 for the first time this year in a European effort to promote the circuit of female stayers. Nine have been confirmed, including five aged 3. They are three to share the best rating of the race at 112lbs: Musica Amica (Dawn Approach), just rehabilitated with a beautiful second place in the Qatar Grand Prix Vermeille (Gr1), the English radier Enbihaar (Redoute’s Choice ), last winner of the “Females’ St.Leger” in Doncaster, the Park Hill Stakes (Gr2), a short head in front of the Irish Delphinia (Galileo, she was supplemented to participate), and finally Anapurna (Frankel) , who will try to finally repeat her Epsom Oaks (Gr1) win.
Second in Sottsass’s Prix Niel (Gr2), Mutamakina (Nathaniel) has a say, like Lah Ti Dar (Dubawi), third in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Gr1) and in the Yorkshire Oaks (Gr1) won by Enable, the favourite of the Arc herself!
Five horses start in the Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein (Gr2), a weight-for-age mile featuring the classic winner Olmedo (Declaration of War), back on an upward trail, facing Impulsif (New Approach) , impressive in the Prix Messidor (Gr3) in July but out since then. The Revenant (Dubawi), undefeated in three outings this season between March and May, is also back from a lengthy spell! Beware of the Irish Tauran Shaman (Shamardal), undefeated in two outings for trainer Jessica Harrington, and Shaman (Shamardal), second in the Jacques Le Marois (Gr1) this year …
The Qatar Prix Dollar (Gr2) is also a weight-for-age conditions race but it’s run over 1m2 and will open the race day at 1:30pm on Saturday. Six horses are in, including the Marseilles-trained gelding Skalleti (Kendargent), winner of his last five races, and Villa Rosa (Doctor Dino), who has won three of her last four races and has, like Skalleti, been supplemented here. The best rating of the lot is held by Line of Duty (Galileo), winner last year of the Breeders’Cup Juvenile Turf (Gr1) in the USA and back in good form (3rd in the “Marois” and the “Moulin”, two Group1s mile races) after a messy start of the season.