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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Seven stars set to light up Longchamp this weekend

Battaash: set to star at Longchamp this weekend
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The Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe dominates this weekend's action at Longchamp, but plenty of equine quality will be on display in the French capital across both days. Here are seven stars who are set to strut their stuff at the Parisian course

Young Rascal
Prix Chaudenay

After winning the Chester Vase, Young Rascal became a live contender for the Derby and the William Haggas-trained colt was sent off 17-2 for the Epsom Classic. The son of Intello could only finish a well-beaten seventh, so it was back to the drawing board and after a lengthy break, Young Rascal returned at Newbury last month to a win a Group 3. Haggas indicated a step up in trip at Longchamp could be on the cards, although he stressed any decision was ground dependent.

Young Rascal returned to action with a win at Newbury last month

Knight To Behold
Prix Dollar

Harry Dunlop, no stranger to a winner in Paris, is set to target another big pot with Knight To Behold. The Sea The Stars colt struggled to make an impact in both the Derby at Epsom and the Irish equivalent at the Curragh, but bounced back to form with an emphatic Group 2 success at Deauville on his last start, beating French Derby winner Study Of Man, and is likely to have a leading chance in the Prix Dollar. Plenty of British runners could be among the opposition. Charlie Appleby, who has had such a profitable summer in France, could rely on Loxley. 

Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere

While Al Hilalee – from the Appleby yard – and Aidan O'Brien's Broome could be among the opposition, there is always a strong French representation in this Group 1 for two-year-olds over a mile. Following a two-length Group 3 win at the course last month, trainer Freddy Head suggested this race was the likely port of call for the unbeaten Anodor. Comparing form lines from different countries is always difficult, but he looks a fascinating contender nonetheless.

The apple of his eye: Charlie Hills hoping for more fireworks from Battaash

Prix de l'Abbaye
Sunday 3.05

He can be as unpredictable as he is explosive, but that is exactly what makes Battaash box office viewing. The Charlie Hills-trained sprinter was electric when annihilating his rivals by four lengths in the race at Chantilly last season and if the four-year-old can repeat that sort of performance instead of the lacklustre effort he produced in the Nunthorpe last time, it's hard to see him being beaten. However, Havana Grey, Blue Point and Alpha Delphini all deserve respect after winning Group 1s this season and they will ensure Battaash needs to be at his brilliant best to follow up.

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Sunday 3.50

It would be an unforgivable oversight to omit the defending Arc heroine from this list. John Gosden's brilliant filly will bid to become just the eighth horse to win the race twice. Only Treve, who was victorious in 2013 and 2014, has achieved the feat since the 1970s. The four-year-old has missed most of the season due to an injury but shook off the cobwebs at Kempton last month, looking as good as ever. She won't necessarily have it her own way, with the dry forecast likely to lead to Irish and Yorkshire Oaks winner Sea Of Class being supplemented on Wednesday. It remains to be seen whether Enable's stablemate Cracksman lines up, given he would probably prefer some rain in the forecast, while Waldgeist heads the home challenge.

Enable the star name on Arc weekend at Longchamp

Wild Illusion
Prix de l'Opera
Sunday 4.35

It will be interesting to see if Wild Illusion, not seen since winning the Nassau Stakes in early August, takes up her entry in the Prix de l'Opera. Charlie Appleby's filly, who won the Prix Marcel Boussac on Arc weekend last season at the meeting's temporary home of Chantilly, has always been highly thought of and was fancied for both the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks. She finished fourth and second in those assignments before taking Group 1 honours at Goodwood. Aidan O'Brien has already indicated Magic Wand, who beat Wild Illusion at Royal Ascot, is likely to be among the opposition.

Prix de la Foret
Sunday 5.15

Big things were expected of Freddy Head's filly this time last year and she was sent off 11-8 favourite in the Prix Marcel Boussac, only for the aforementioned Wild Illusion to emerge superior. It looked like those high hopes were misplaced initially this season, but Polydream has won her last two starts, the last of them in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest where she edged out George Scott's James Garfield. 2016 winner Limato has also been back in winning form and could provide a real threat if he turns up in a similar mood.

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He can be as unpredictable as he is explosive, but that is exactly what makes Battaash box office viewing
E.W. Terms
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