THERE was a nice boost for the 'Betting Ring' coffers last Sunday with Workforce winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at 6/1, but I nearly missed the race while strolling around the Vatican on a weekend away in Rome with herself.
The Eternal City is an hour ahead of Dublin (as is Paris) and it was only when I received a text from a mate telling me what he'd backed that I realised the race was off in 10 minutes. I just had time to take a few snaps of Il Papa's gaff before nipping across the road to the local trattoria to view the race on a small TV.
The commentary may have been in French, but you couldn't mistake the King's Best colt making serious progress two furlongs out. As he battled bravely in the final stages to hold off Nakayama Festa, this punter became quite animated, much to the befuddlement of the espresso-drinking locals.
Connections said they'll keep Workforce in training, which is great news for racing fans, although I wouldn't be keen on taking the 5/2 available on him winning the Breeders' Cup Turf.
He's the type that needs to recover between races so a trip to Kentucky in just four weeks' time may be pushing it a little.
While the Arc win was a welcome boost for my finances, some bad calls midweek at Navan and Tramore meant that a good chunk of the cash ended up in the layers' satchels, so it's back to business today as we attempt to beat the books and take some of it back again. Electric Waves may be able to help me on that front and I'm surprised to see the filly marked up around 5/1 for the Group Three Sodexo Prestige Cornwallis Stakes (2.30 Ascot).
The two-year-old looked mediocre last time in a Group Two at Doncaster, but jockey Richard Mullen couldn't get her into stride. Eventually, the daughter of Exceed and Excel will have to step up to six furlongs (a distance she's bred for), but for the moment she should be able to take a couple more races over the minimum trip, especially if stoked up early.
Before Doncaster, she made her way up through the ranks as far as Listed company but the jump ahead to Group Two racing was a step too far. The one most likely to give her trouble is Ralph Beckett's Pabusa, which has come on in leaps and bounds since being gelded and looks sure to win another race before the season is out.
The odds of 25/1 about Gramercy suggest he has less than 4pc chance of winning the Coral Sprint Trophy Heritage Handicap (3.55 York), but I reckon the layers may have underestimated his ability and this unexposed colt could be capable of causing an upset.
He clocked up a string of good performances over six furlongs during the summer but didn't like the quick return to the track at Newmarket in August. He was pulled up last time at Ascot but that race is excused as he was hampered by Suruor -- a horse which broke down halfway. It's a tricky race but he's worth a shot.
1.55 Ascot: Big Issue
2.30 Ascot: Electric Waves
3.05 Ascot: Redford
3.55 York: Gramercy (e/w)