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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Flat princess Laurens the star attraction before Arc queens strut their stuff

Laurens: Karl Burke's star filly runs in the Sun Chariot
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In a nutshell

Newmarket's finest endeavour to annex France's greatest race on Sunday, but the French have not done too badly in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (3.15) in recent years and Wind Chimes is an intriguing runner in Newmarket's feature contest on Saturday afternoon.

All eyes will be on the main course at Longchamp on Sunday, when Enable and Sea Of Class run in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but the appetiser looks pretty tasty as Coolmore's Wind Chimes – supplemented for the Sun Chariot by master trainer Andre Fabre for £20,000 on Monday – clashes with blue-collar darling Laurens, who is fast becoming a Flat princess.

They look the headline acts, but a rejuvenated Aidan O'Brien had a Group 1 double at Newmarket last weekend and the all-conquering trainer's trio Clemmie, Happily and I Can Fly are unlikely to go down without a fight.

On what is a typically hectic Saturday afternoon, Longchamp plays host to the Group 1 Prix du Cadran, featuring the Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite, plus four Group 2s in what amounts to a strong pre-Arc day card.

Elsewhere, Ascot stages a couple of Group 3s plus the £180,000 Challenge Cup, while it's Redcar's best meeting of the year, with the feature being the Listed Two-Year-Old Trophy, one of seven races live on ITV4.

For early birds, the world's highest-rated horse, Winx, bids for the 21st Group 1 victory of her career in the Turnbull Stakes, en route to her attempt to win the Cox Plate for the fourth time.

Candy sweet on Limato

Henry Candy has worked his magic on Limato, who appeared to be regressing earlier in the season but has won his last two and ought to be right in the mix in the Group 3 John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes (3.00) at Ascot.

"He enjoyed his last two races," Candy said. "He struggled a bit in the ground at York last time but he got the job done.

"We'll be happy if the rain stays away; it's forecast to rain heavily after the last so let's hope they're right. He's got a good chance if all goes well."

Limato: no rain is wanted for the classy gelding

Marco Botti fields Raven's Lady in opposition, although her task is complicated by a penalty.

"She's showed her best form this year, winning a Group 3 at York and a Group 2 at Baden-Baden," Botti said.

"This looks her toughest task of the year, incurring a penalty against proper sprinters, but there is nothing else for her and it's her last run. She seems in great form and we've been pleased with her work. If she runs in the first three we'll be delighted."

If classy sprints are your thing, Ascot also stages the Listed Duke of Edinburgh's Award Rous Stakes (1.50), which William Haggas aims to win with reliable stalwart Muthmir.

"He's in great form," the Newmarket trainer said. "Sheikh Hamdan has two in the Abbaye – he supplemented Tantheem and he has Battaash – so we're staying at home.

"He's an old warrior and he is bound to run a good race, as long as the ground is not slow."

Fillies to the fore at HQ

Fillies take the spotlight on Newmarket's card in the Sun Chariot and the track also caters for the distaff side with four EBF-backed handicaps each worth £50,000.

Ed Walker is keen to win the sprint series (2.05) with Fille De Reve, a promising sort who has won her last two since dropping back in trip.

"She always promised a lot and I suppose I was reading her pedigree a bit more than looking at the individual," explained Walker.

"She's done very well back over six furlongs and would have been an unlucky loser at Ascot last time, when Andrea Atzeni had to switch her.

"I just hope the rain doesn't turn up. It's forecast to come but hopefully we can get her race out of the way first as she wants it quick."

He added: "I think she'll handle the track as she's a well-balanced, athletic filly; I think she'll skip down the Dip well. It's just the rain I'm worried about."

There is also a notebooks-at-the-ready novice (2.40) on Newmarket's card, in which Faylaq makes his debut for Hamdan Al Maktoum.

An Investec Derby entry, he is by Dubawi out of King George and Arc queen Danedream and cost a cool 1.5 million guineas as a yearling 12 months ago.

Mighty good at Redcar

The Mighty Redcar, a fly-on-the-wall reality series, has recently aired on BBC2 and the town's racecourse muscles in on ITV4's coverage on Saturday when it hosts the Racing UK Two Year Old Trophy (2.45), which is the venue's richest prize at £175,000.

The four-part documentary has become an acclaimed hit, much like Limato when he bolted up in Redcar's feature race of the year in 2014.

Redcar's bill also includes the £50,000 Racing UK EBF Stallions Guisborough Stakes (4.00) with Emmaus on duty in the Listed contest for Roger Varian, who said: "He could not land a blow in desperate ground at Haydock, but seven furlongs probably suits him best, while this represents a drop in grade.

"He'll enjoy the track and won't mind any of the forecast rain."

A healthy crowd can be expected, especially as the Oktoberfest Beer Festival also takes place – wunderbar!

Jumping for joy

The long, hot summer might mean it takes a while for the core jumps season to hit top gear, but Gowran does its bit to get the juices flowing by hosting the Grade 2 PWC Champion Chase (3.40).

It features the seasonal return of Ryanair Chase winner Balko Des Flos, whose trainer Henry de Bromhead won the prize four times in a row with Sizing Europe.

In Britain, Richard Johnson and Harry Skelton take their early jockeys' title skirmish to Fontwell, where champion trainer Nicky Henderson will hope Haul Away can complete a four-timer in the feature £15,000 handicap hurdle (2.50).

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If she runs in the first three we'll be delighted
E.W. Terms
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