Aidan O’Brien’s Japan is 10/1 (from 16s) with BetVictor for the Arc at Longchamp on the first Sunday in October after a workmanlike success in the Gp 1 Grand Prix de Paris on Sunday. The colt looked ready for a mid-season break in Paris, and O’Brien looks sure to freshen him up before bringing him back for the Prix Niel on Arc Trials day in September.
The alternative is the Irish Champion Stakes over 10f at Leopardstown earlier in the month – a race the yard always target with their best middle-distance animal, but does Japan have the speed for the drop back in trip? I wonder. Enable remains 15/8 market leader with BetVictor for an unprecedented hat-trick of Arcs.
At Beverly this afternoon Rochester House looks ready for a step up to 2m for the first time having stayed on well at Doncaster last time over the St Leger trip of an extended 1m 6f. He must go close, but I favour the chance of Mick Channon’s October Storm (2.45) who has been running well in defeat of late and can race from the same mark as when beaten less than a length at Doncaster back in April.
Atletico (3.15) often blots his copybook with a slow start but I like the booking of PJ McDonald for David Evans’ 7-year-old who ran a cracking race when beaten half a length behind two subsequent winners over C&D back in May from this mark.
Langholm (4.45) has improved in recent starts for the drop back to 10f and he is well drawn in stall 1 for one who is likely to try and make all. He has been raised 7lbs for his C&D win three weeks ago but, if he gets a soft time of things up front, he will be tough to pass.
At Southwell this evening the 11-year-olds Un Beau Roman (6.30) and Oliver’s Gold are well treated on their best form and preference for the former is marginal. The selection is 5lbs higher than when a fast-finishing second at Worcester when last seen back in May although the winner has since followed up and Paul Henderson’s veteran remains very well treated on his best form.
No Quarter Asked (9.00) finished second at Perth on debut behind one of Peter Bowen’s – Equus Dancer – and it might be significant that the winners’ connections, have in the interim period, bought the second privately and it will race from Bowen’s yard this evening. He is taken to go one better.
At Nottingham Al Messila (8.10) ran out an impressive winner at Leicester last time and I’m not convinced a 6lbs rise will prevent her following up although a draw in stall nine is less than ideal. Sir Michael Stoute’s Heavenly Bliss didn’t get the clearest of runs against the selection last time and is 6lbs better off, but she lacks the scope of the Hannon filly.
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