Queen seeks slice of Longchamp action
Pat Fahy will tilt at windmills with Ballybacka Queen at Longchamp tomorrow on what is a brilliantly diverse weekend of racing.
The respected Co Carlow-based dual-purpose handler is poised to saddle the only Irish representative on the first day of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe festivities. Ballybacka Queen has won two handicaps in her last five starts, and tomorrow she will step into Group Two company under Kevin Manning for a stab at the Prix de Royallieu.
She will face seven rivals that look more precocious, but she has been placed in Group class before, so it will be fascinating to see how she fares. Cirrus Des Aigles will also seek to atone for a rare below-par Irish Champion Stakes turn in the Prix Dollar.
Closer to home tomorrow, Mick Halford's Raydara (Pat Smullen) will take on the likes of Esoterique and Integral in the Group One Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.
Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore combine for a trio of juveniles on the card, with last week's Cheveley Park Stakes fourth Alice Springs set to face a dozen rivals in a £300,000 sales race. Intriguingly, Ballydoyle's Waterloo Bridge will strive to complete a hat-trick in the £500,000 Tattersalls Millions Trophy on what will be his first outing since landing the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Later on in the US tomorrow night, O'Brien will be doubly represented in the Grade One First Lady Stakes at Keeneland. Colm O'Donoghue has been booked to partner the consistent Outstanding, with Seamie Heffernan pencilled in for Easter, which finished just in front when the duo were placed at Gowran Park recently.
Heffernan is also set to partner the all-conquering stable's Britannia Stakes victor War Envoy in the Shadwell Turf Mile, while at Gowran earlier in the day the Galway Plate hero Shanahan's Turn will have his big-race credentials further examined in the Grade Two PWC Champion Chase.
The likes of Diakali and Bachasson could then feature on an excellent mixed spread at Tipperary on Sunday, although there is no doubting where the real focus will be that afternoon.
As expected, Golden Horn has been supplemented for the Arc. In what has all the makings of a genuinely seismic showdown in the €5m Group One, the brilliant Derby winner will spearhead the quest to deny Treve a historic third success in the Longchamp feature.
Final declarations are this morning, but Dermot Weld's Free Eagle is expected to be among them, likewise New Bay, Flintshire and O'Brien's Found and Tapestry, after they were both scratched from the Prix de l'Opera.