Sunday 17 December 2017

Fame has class to fulfil O'Brien Arc plan

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

As ever, the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp tomorrow looks set to serve up a thrilling spectacle.

Among the 20-strong field are the winners of two Irish Derbies, an Irish Champion Stakes, an English and French Derby, a French 2,000 Guineas and a French Oaks.

The Japanese bid for a first triumph in the race with Nakayama Festa, while Behkabad, which is responsible for none of the aforementioned haul, continues to harden as favourite.

Throw in the seven-year-old Youmzain -- second in three successive Arcs -- to keep them all honest, and it's hard to imagine a more complete field. Granted, the injured Harbinger deserves an honourable mention, but the race hardly lacks depth in that one's absence.

Fame And Glory, still available at up to 6/1, is taken to prevail. Sixth to Sea The Stars 12 months ago when he did himself no favours by pulling hard, Aidan O'Brien's colt has been trained specifically for this all year.

Apart from a surprise defeat on his reappearance, the four-year-old has done nothing wrong.

He has defied fears that he might be vulnerable over shorter trips by winning over 10 and 11 furlongs, and never looked like being beaten over his preferred trip of 12 furlongs in the Coronation Cup in June.

The reason Fame And Glory (pictured) trades at such a generous price appears to be due to a concern that he won't handle the testing ground, but, as a dual winner on heavy and being by Montjeu, that unease is misplaced. In a year when the three-year-olds have been somewhat inconsistent, Johnny Murtagh's mount ought to be good enough.

In the Prix Marcel Boussac, the juvenile fillies' Group One, Misty For Me also holds solid prospects for Ballydoyle. A game winner of the Moyglare Stakes under Seamie Heffernan, the Galileo filly is bidding to make it two from two in Group Ones.

However, Galikova, which is also by the pre-eminent Coolmore sire, is worth a speculative investment. A half-sister to Goldikova, Olivier Peslier's partner made an impressive debut over course and distance a fortnight ago.

Irish Independent

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