2.15pm Arc fancy Orfevre shows his less appealing side
Will Hayler: If you’re thinking, despite his draw widest of all in stall 18, of backing the well-fancied Orfevre in Sunday’s Arc de Triomphe, you might want to take a look at these two videos.
The first here shows the Japanese runner at his best, making mincemeat of his rivals to win the Japanese St Leger, the Kikuka Sho, at Kyoto last October, wrapping up the country’s Triple Crown in the process. This film is shot on a mobile device from the stands, which means the camerawork is hit and miss, but it includes an intriguing clapping routine from the crowd (at about 0:30) as the runners are going into the starting stalls. I’m going to try and get something similar going as Frankel goes into the stalls at Ascot now.
The second here is a race you may already have seen, but if you haven’t you really should. It’s Orfevre’s reappearance at the start of this year in the Hanshin Daishoten, where the colt shows an altogether less satisfactory side to his nature, cocking his jaw with half a mile to run and trying to run out on the bend. If he does the same in the Arc, you can now impress your friends by relating how you have seen it all before.
11.30am Orfevre drifts in betting for the Arc
Greg Wood: There have been some significant moves in the betting for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe following the draw for stall positions this morning. Orfevre’s reward for travelling halfway around the world from Japan is a draw in box 18 on the wide outside, the worst position of all, and Yasua Ikee’s colt is now top-priced at 4-1 from 7-2.
A further drift is likely if money comes for Camelot, who has a perfect pitch in five, and the 3-1 about the Derby winner is starting to dry up with most bookies now going 11-4 or 5-2.
Masterstroke, from the French arm of the Godolphin operation, has also fared badly and will start just inside Orfevre from 17. He is out to 12-1 from 10-1, but Saonois, the French Derby winner, is closer to 8-1 generally than the overnight 9-1 after getting stall two. John Gosden’s Great Heavens, supplemented to the race on Thursday, has also got a good draw in seven and is generally a 12-1 chance, having been laid at 999-1 on Betfair when she seemed unlikely to run.
11.15am Orfevre handed bad draw on wide outside in the Arc
Tony Paley: Orfevre will have to overcome the widest draw of all in stall 18 in Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the horse’s p[rices is drifting after Friday morning’s news.
“You need a real champion to win the Arc, who is efficient over a mile as well as over a mile and a half as you need speed and stamina, and he must be easy to handle,” said Orfevre’s jockey Christophe Soumillon.
“He is not a complicated horse. I have watched the races he has won in the past. All the Japanese fans would like to see a Japanese horse win the Arc. I hope I can deliver what all the Japanese fans expect. I’m not afraid of anyone. I’m a sportsman and it’s not good to be afraid.”
Meanwhile, Frankie Dettori feels this weekend’s race will suit Camelot ideally and he has fared very favourably in the draw in stall five.
“He looks to be tremendously well balanced. He came into his own in the Derby when he ran over a mile and a half. He spread-eagled the field and was mighty impressive. The Arc will be his absolute cup of tea.”
Trainer John Gosden, jockey William Buick and owner Lady Rothschild suffered major disappointment earlier this week when leading contender Nathaniel had to be ruled out of the race due to an unsatisfactory blood test.
The team shuffled their pack and decided to supplement brilliant Irish Oaks heroine Great Heavens, who is a full-sister to her esteemed stable companions.
Buick believes Great Heavens [stall seven] has plenty going for her in the Arc. He said: “It’s a sporting decision by the owners and she is a filly with a lot of ability. “She’s in good form at home and with Nathaniel not running, she deserves to take her chance in the race.”
Completing the British challenge is the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sea Moon, who has had a light campaign. The four-year-old won his first two starts of the year and although he has not been seen since finishing fifth in the King George, he has been well backed in recent days and Ryan Moore has recovered from injury in time to take the ride. However, he has not fared well in the draw, starting from a wide berth in stall 16.
Friday’s best bets, by Greg Wood
Listed class is as good as it gets at Ascot this afternoon, but the Noel Murless Stakes is an intriguing event with several good staying three-year-olds that could be Cup horses next year.
Sir Graham Wade is the obvious favourite having won five of his last seven starts as he progressed through the handicap ranks, though he is not the top-rated runner in the field, an honour which belongs to David Elsworth’s rather in-and-out filly, Salford Art. Sir Graham Wade’s only poor run in recent memory was in the Melrose Handicap at York, when he was well down the field in a well-run race in which Biographer (4.05), one of his opponents today, finished second.
That run can’t be taken literally, but it did come on good-to-soft ground, which is some cause for concern as the ground at Ascot, which was already good-to-soft, absorbed another 8mm of rain overnight. At the prices, David Lanigan’s colt looks just as progressive as the favourite and is the value bet.
Elsewhere on the card, Ocean’s Minstrel (4.40) would have a chance if he produced anything close to his 2010 form, when he finished in the frame in the Cesarewitch. He missed all of last season and has just one run, eight days ago, to his name this time around, which means plenty needs to be taken on trust. At 11-1, though, it is a chance worth taking.
Gaul Wood (2.55), whose Sandown win three weeks ago is working out well, will be hard to beat in the Redstone Classified Stakes, while Silver Lime (3.30) will not need to find much improvement on his excellent third over course and distance last time out to go close in the 12-furlong handicap.
Tipping competition, day five
Twig28 is back on top, thanks to Midnight Rider (5-1), while 72luca continued his progress into third with Waking Warrior (9-2). CorvusFrugilegus and kingklynch had Waking Warrior and Silver Roque (15-8).
For today’s thrilling climax, we’d like your tips, please, for these races: 3.30 Ascot, 3.50 Fontwell, 5.15 Ascot.
GET THOSE TIPS IN EARLY! In the event of a tie at the end of the week, the winner will be the tipster who, from among those tied on the highest score, posted their tips earliest on the final day (today).
This week’s prize, kindly offered by OLBG, the sports betting community, is a pair of grandstand tickets to Wetherby on the day of the Charlie Hall Chase, Saturday 3 November. OLBG has just launched a free app offering tips across a range of sporting events – you can read about it here or watch a demonstration here.
As ever, our champion will be the tipster who returns the best profit to notional level stakes of £1 at starting price on our nominated races, of which there will be four each day up until Friday. Non-runners count as losers. If you have not joined in so far this week, you are welcome to do so today, but you will start on -12.
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Standings after day four
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