Sunday is one of the highlights in the racing calendar – the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s premier middle-distance race and a contest dripping with racing history.
This year the Arc is back at its spiritual home in Longchamp, now fully redeveloped, after a hiatus at Chantilly in recent seasons.
Superstar filly Enable bids to win again for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori after scoring last year.
She looked as good as ever when scoring in the September Stakes at Kempton last month but that is her only run since winning in France a year ago.
That must rank as a concern for her supporters as there is a chance she’ll be undercooked. Another filly, Sea Of Class, seemingly heads the dangers for trainer William Haggas.
She’s impressed greatly in winning the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks and was supplemented into this race at considerable cost this week. James Doyle has been ice-cool on her this summer but a tough draw in stall 15 makes life very tough.
Three-year-old fillies do well in this race and it might be worth a speculative punt on an outsider from Ballydoyle despite the fact Enable is the one they’ve all got to take down.
Magical @ 40/1 each way – Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has won this great race only on two previous occasions, with Dylan Thomas in 2007 and, two years ago, with Found.
She led home an unprecedented Ballydoyle 1-2-3 in the race, with stablemates Highland Reel and Order Of St George completing the places in a training feat unlikely to be matched.
Another Galileo filly comes to Longchamp on Sunday as one of a five-pronged O’Brien assault and, at huge odds, Magical is worth an each-way sporting chance.
St Leger winner Kew Gardens looks the yard’s best hope but he hasn’t done well in the draw (14). Magical breaks wider still from 16 but Wayne Lordan’s mount is in a berth next door to Sea Of Class and that might help her.
She was just shy of Group 1-winning form over a mile as a juvenile and has made it to the track just three times this year.
She has experienced Longchamp before, a plus, and gave her best performance of the season when winning over 1m1f at the Curragh in July.
Pigeon-holed as a miler, that was an impressive success and there could be further improvement lurking as she goes up in trip once again. At a big price, Magical might run into the money in the Arc.
Ballyoisin – 3.40 Gowran Park – win and each way @ 9/2
There is a decent jumps card at Gowran Park on Saturday as some of the big names start to come back out following their summer recess.
Ryanair Chase winner Balko Des Flos is likely to be popular for Henry De Bromhead here but he is having his first outing since Aintree (disappointing) in the spring so might be vulnerable to the race-fit Ballyoisin.
Enda Bolger’s charge has been in great form so far this season, following up an impressive Grade 3 victory over an extended 2m4f on good going at Killarney in May with a 2m5f success at Punchestown (good) a month later.
After his own summer break, Ballyoisin took advantage of a lower rating to win over hurdles at Listowel despite the 2m test being sharper than ideal.
That race fitness should stand the front runner in good stead now back over fences and up in distance again. He tends to ensure a thorough test and his pressing tactics will find Balko Des Flos out if he’s any way undercooked for this return.
Ballyoisin has been improving of late over fences and can showcase that by snaring the PWC Champion Chase in the hands of Barry Geraghty.
Wind Chimes – 3.15 Newmarket – win and each way @ 5/2
While all the focus on Sunday will be on France and the Arc, it might pay to follow the cross-channel raiders at Newmarket a day earlier.
The Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes is a Group 1 contest for fillies and mares that has been good to the French of late, with five winners in recent memory.
Andre Fabre comes to Newmarket with Wind Chimes seemingly primed for a bold bid.
The daughter of Mastercraftsman is already a Group 3 winner in her homeland and she improved on that form in defeat last time out behind Recoletos in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp last month.
She is jostling for favouritism with Laurens who is already a three-time Group 1 winner this season.
Karl Burke’s filly claimed the scalp of Alpha Centauri to win the Matron Stakes last time in Ireland although the latter may have been diminished by the career-ending injury she suffered.
Wind Chimes is an improving filly and she can extend the French success story in this race.
Spring Loaded – 1.50 Ascot – win and each way @ 4/1
The Rous Stakes looks a perfect window for C&D winner Spring Loaded to regain the winning thread.
Paul D’Arcy’s charge was most impressive when winning a big-field handicap here earlier in the summer and has since gone on and posted strong efforts in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood and Great St Wilfrid at Ripon – both over 6f.
There are a few in this line-up that will want to burn a trail and that will set things up perfectly for Adam Kirby’s mount who will thrive coming home late off a strong pace.
Judicial, Mr Lupton and Muthmir are all worthy adversaries but each carries a penalty into this race and, on the terms, Spring Loaded appears to have everything in his favour for a big run back over his ideal C&D, with ground conditions set to be perfectly in his favour.
He’s been ultra-consistent in four starts so far in 2018 and can collect his second win of the year.
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