It’s another weekend that will be packed with quality racing. Here are the main details.
In the afternoon, Gowran Park will stage the €32,500 Pat Walsh Memorial Irish EBF Mares Hurdle. Added to that, Ascot will get a valuable two-day fixture under way by featuring the £65,000 LondonMetric Noel Murless Stakes, a Listed Race.
Friday evening will again see Dundalk take centre stage. Last week it was a €63,000 Group 3 race, this week it’s the €60,000 iCopy Irish EBF Star Appeal Stakes (a Listed Race) that will top the bill. Also on the card is the €30,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies’ Handicap.
Top Class Saturday
Gowran Park will race again on Saturday with the feature races being the €45,000 Grade 2 PWC Champion Steeplechase and the €50,000 Kilkenny Racing Festival Handicap Hurdle.
A Toi Phil and Ballycasey, the last two winners of the Champion Chase, are set to run again.
In England, Ascot’s Saturday card will contain the £60,000 Group 3 Stella Artois Cumberland Lodge Stakes, the £70,000 Group 3 John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes, Listed Races worth £45,000 and £40,000 and the £180,000 Challenge Cup, a Heritage Handicap.
On the same day, the centrepiece at Newmarket will be the £250,000 Group 1 Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (for fillies and mares). It will be backed up by four British EBF Breeders’ Fillies’ Handicap races, each of them worth £50,000, plus the £150,000 Tattersall October Auction Stakes for two-year-olds.
And, just for good measure, Redcar will stage its most-valuable meeting of the season. The highlights, both of them Listed Races, being the £175,000 Racing UK Two Year Old Trophy and the £50,000 Racing UK EBF Stallions Guisborough Stakes.
The weekend will, of course, see one of the biggest meetings of the racing year, the two-day ‘Arc’ meeting at Longchamp, or ParisLongchamp as it has been rebranded.
The Group 1 Qatar Prix du Cadran will be one of five Group races on Saturday’s card and then all eyes will turn to Sunday and one of the best meetings you will see anywhere.
Its centrepiece, worth over £2.5million to the winner, is the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, one of most prestigious races in the world.
The valuable card will also contain the following Group 1 contests: the Prix Marcel Boussac (for two-year-old fillies), the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium), for two-year-old colts and fillies, the Prix de l’Opera (3yo+ fillies and mares), the Prix de l’Abbaye (2yo+) and the Prix de la Foret (3yo+).
Last year’s winner Enable will be back to defend her ‘Arc’ crown. Her wins to date also include last season’s Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks. The race against time to get her ready to run on Sunday has, it would seem, been won.
Her initial 17 potential opponents could swell by five more come Wednesday’s supplementary stage. Chief among these would be this season’s Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks winner Sea Of Class.
Fillies or mares have won six of the last seven Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, including Treve (2013 and 2014).
Enable’s bid to emulate her on Sunday will serve as the highlight of what adds up to a treat of a weekend for racing fans.