There was plenty of talk about end of season targets in France after Enable returned to the track at Kempton on Saturday and looked every bit as good as she had last year in winning the September Stakes in impressive fashion from Crystal Ocean.
That performance saw her shorten significantly for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and she’s now a clear favourite for back-to-back wins in that race at 7-4.
Paris Longchamp also host top level action on Sunday afternoon with the Group 1 Prix Du Moulin their centrepiece at 3.15.
Recoletes was no match for the outstanding Alpha Centauri in the Jacques le Marois last time but heads the market from the Sussex Stakes one-two Lightning Spear and Expert Eye.
Sovereign Stakes winner Plumatic has come up short in previous Group One attempts but is progressing by the run and his win at Salisbury was boosted by runner-up Oh This Is Us next time, though that form will need to be improved upon.
Without Parole has seen his progress stall and has a few questions to answer at present and perhaps the progressive Homerique looks most interesting of the bigger priced runners.
She’s taking a drop back in trip but the way she goes through her races makes me think she could well be effective at this trip and she has some good form in the book.
That race, plus some of the other action in France, will be live on RUK this afternoon, as will the racing a little closer to home at York and I’m heading to the Knavesmire for today’s selections.
Roddy was below form at Pontefract last time but I’d put that down to a result of poor track position in a race where the first three home raced around the inside rail.
Anything that raced on the part of the track that Roddy attempted to challenge on that day at Pontefract struggled to make any impact and the fact he posed more of a threat that anything else is encouraging.
Positives can easily be taken from his previous form, which includes several good runs behind horses he had little chance of beating in hindsight, including a length and a half second behind hugely progressive future Group Three winner Worth Waiting at Redcar.
Other placed efforts behind such as Walton Street and The Night Porter also make him look potentially well handicapped off a mark of 79, while the slightly easier ground than he’s raced on so far this season looks an advantage given the excellent record of his sire’s progeny with give in the ground.
Woven and Sapa Inca topped my shortlist at the prices for this race and I just favour Woven, who made a really encouraging start to his career at Newcastle in July.
Racing in the colours of the Never Say Die Partnership, who have done exceptionally well with their purchases from the Breeze Up Sales, this £48,000 purchase from the Goffs Sale at Doncaster last April looks open to significant improvement with that debut run behind him.
Dropped out at the back of the field at a time when the track was favouring those horses that raced on the pace at Newcastle, he fared best of those to come from the rear in that race and was subjected to only minimal pressure.
In keeping on well that day he was a significant eyecatcher and looks likely to be well served by the extra furlong here. Easy ground is a slight concern but if David Simcock allows him to take his chance then I’ll happily back him at the 6-1 on offer.
The three-year-olds get a significant amount of weight-for-age allowance here so for all that early market leader Rubenesque is progressing, I favour the chances of the classic generation, namely Elysees, Dazzling Rock and The Knot Is Tied.
Alan King’s Elysees is the one I’ve eventually sided with on the basis that a return to a strongly run race may see him get back on the up.
A winner on his handicap debut when producing a strong finish at Wolverhampton in April, Elysees gained a second win at Sandown when beating next timeout winner Dagueneau by four and a half lengths in cosy fashion but has been caught out by races run at a less than even pace on three starts since.
Those runs include his latest effort at Sandown when he was just ahead of Dazzling Rock, who has since come out to win and as a result re-opposes on slightly worse terms.
I’ve had this horse on my radar since he caught the eye at Chester’s May meeting with a good run from a poor draw.
Although I haven’t managed to make any money out of him yet, with three subsequent defeats on his record, he has been running consistently well, including on conditions that have been faster than ideal on a couple of occasions.
When he did get his favoured easy ground he was stretched by the 7f trip having raced keenly and today’s combination of good to soft ground in a well-run race over 6f looks his optimum set of conditions.
The form of his latest third place finish at Leicester looks solid and has been boosted by the winner following up since so with a career-best performance anticipated today I make Captain Jameson the best bet of the day.