Arc Trials preview: Fleeting each-way value in Prix Vermeille

Published on: September 14, 2019
Author: Jamie Clark
Our 2019 Arc Trials preview from Longchamp includes Star Catcher (left) and Fleeting in the Prix Vermeille

A stellar renewal of the 1m 4f Group 1 Prix Vermeille tests English, French and Irish Classic form on Arc Trials day at Longchamp this Sunday (14:50).

After placing in both the Epsom and Irish Oaks, Fleeting looks a solid each-way bet.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, double-handed in his bid to win this race for the first time, this three-year-old daughter of Zoffany improved throughout her juvenile campaign.

Fleeting landed the Group 2 May Hill Stakes during the St Leger Festival at Doncaster, staying on well in the last half-furlong for a 1 1/2 lengths victory.

Although trailing in last of 15 to Hermosa in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on reappearance, she may have needed the run after 234 days off the track.

Fleeting shaped far better on her second start of the season when stepped up in trip to this distance and running on well to take third in the Epsom Oaks.

She couldn’t reach the re-opposing winner, Annapurna, but has since reversed form with stable companion Pink Dogwood.

If Fleeting hadn’t encountered traffic approaching the final furlong, then she would’ve ran the front two closer.

Trouble in-running has dogged this filly in big races. Fleeting then chased home Star Catcher in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot when twice denied a clear run.

She put her best effort in at the highest level to date on her penultimate outing in the Irish Oaks. Although held half-a-length by the re-opposing Star Catcher, Fleeting was closing in the final 100 yards.

If putting a line through her fourth in America over an inadequate trip when last in action, then she has solid place prospects on the pick of her form. Fleeting is 8/1 with Coral for the Prix Vermeille.

Gosden pair have strong claims on Arc Trials day

Annapurna and Star Catcher are Classic winning fillies looking to give Newmarket handler John Gosden a first-ever winner of the Prix Vermeille. Frankie Dettori can’t ride both, so takes the ride on the latter.

Owned by Anthony Oppenheimer of Golden Horn fame, Star Catcher scored by four decisive lengths in a Newbury maiden when stepped up to 10 furlongs on reappearance.

Although then held half-a-length in a Listed affair at that venue by Queen Power, connections pitched this daughter of Sea The Stars into Group 2 company for the Ribblesdale.

Star Catcher put in tremendous display at Royal Ascot, running on well after hitting the front two out.

She then made all to follow-up in the Irish Oaks with jockey Dettori setting very smart fractions on the front end. As a result of that, Star Catcher is 9/4 favourite with Betfair for this.

BHA ratings have her on the same mark as Annapurna, who comes to Arc Trials day with equally strong claims. The latter is by Frankel and has a very similar profile.

Annapurna needed the step up to 10 furlongs to get off the mark at Lingfield on the all-weather, then switched to the turf track there for the Listed Oaks Trial where she scored by six lengths over an extended 1m 3f.

Her rapid rise continued last time out when prevailing in the Epsom Oaks by a neck from Pink Dogwood following a battle in the last couple of furlongs.

Dettori deserting Annapurna is an obvious negative, but British champion jockey elect Oisin Murphy is a more than able deputy.

She is also the freshest filly in the Prix Vermeille line-up off a break of 107 days. Taking all that into account, Annapurna is also respected at 4/1 with Unibet.

Waldgeist can retain Prix Foy crown

A disappointing field of four go in the 1m 4f Group 2 Prix Foy for older horses (13:35), and last year’s winner Waldgeist can’t be opposed.

Trained by Andre Fabre, who has saddled nine horses to victory in this, the five-year-old son of Galileo notched a four-timer en route to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last season.

All of those victories came over this distance. After winning a Group 3 here, Waldgeist took Grand Prix races at Chantilly and Saint-Cloud before putting in a very impressive display in this 12 months ago.

He made smooth progress to challenge entering the final furlong, then soon led and stayed on strongly to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths.

That commanding performance meant Waldgeist was one of the leading home contenders for the Arc last October.

Hold-up tactics didn’t work, however, as he ran into traffic after two out but stayed on be beaten 1 3/4 lengths and fourth home behind Enable.

Waldgeist doesn’t travel all that well, looking back on his career to date, but has put in some fine efforts in the UK this season.

They came after a ready 4 1/2 lengths success in the Group 1 Prix Ganay on appearance over a shorter trip here in April.

Waldgeist finished ahead of ill-fated Arc runner-up Sea Of Class on soft ground in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot when a fine third.

He filled the same spot at the Berkshire venue in the King George when beaten just a couple of lengths behind Enable and Crystal Ocean, who confirmed form from the previous run.

As those runs set a clear standard in the Prix Foy, Waldgeist simply cannot be opposed at 4/7 with Ladbrokes for another Arc Trials day success.

Sottsass a strong fancy in Prix Niel

French Derby winner Sottsass seeks his hat-trick in the three-year-olds only Group 2 Prix Niel, yet another Arc Trials day race over 1m 4f (15:25).

Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, this Siyouni colt has relished steps up in trip this season. After scoring over a mile as a juvenile, Sottsass found nine furlongs in the Group 3 Prix la Force here too sharp for him on reappearance.

He came on for that, however, when bolting up by 6 1/2 lengths in a Listed contest at Chantilly.

That punched Sottsass’ ticket to the Prix du Jockey Club where he readily beat French 2000 Guineas winner Persian King.

He made menacing headway two out and was driven to lead a furlong from home before keeping on strongly for a two-length victory.

Sottsass has nothing to fear from the re-opposing seventh, Mohawk, as he beat him nine lengths.

However, that O’Brien trained Irish raider comes out clear second on Racing Post ratings and could improve for the step up in trip. The Galileo colt has since won a Group 3 over nine furlongs at Leopardstown.

In a weak renewal of the Prix Niel, Sottsass is a worthy odds-on 1/2 favourite with BetVictor but it could pay to have Mohawk in a forecast with him.

If treated on the pick of his form, Mohawk – who landed a 1m Group 2 as a juvenile and chased home subsequent dual Group 1 winner Circus Maximus on reappearance – looks a bit of each-way value at 9/1 with Paddy Power on Arc Trials day.

Another in with a shout of the frame is Group 3 course and distance winner Quest The Moon, who hasn’t kicked on since. Even reproducing that form won’t be enough to stop Sottsass from landing his hat-trick, though.