Prix de L’Abbaye – Longchamp Sunday
Thanks to Sam Preen of the Softinplaces wordpress for this runner by runner look at the Prix de L’Abbaye at Longchamp – 1.00pm Sunday
Move In Time
Useful handicapper who’s had a quiet time of things, since picking up a valuable handicap at Doncaster last April, but did well to chase home rival Catcall in last year’s Prix de Saint-Georges over course and distance. Came back to form over this trip, when dropping into a minor event at Newmarket, and finished runner up in two handicaps, and was a running on second last month in a Group 3 over course and distance ,under Richard Hughes. Ran creditably on his sole start at the highest level, but rain softening ground not ideal.
Infrequent winner who ended a long losing run, stretching to almost a year, when picking up a Group 3 over 6 furlongs under a gallant ride under Spencer (how many times would you say that in your life?), before a few disappointing efforts, back over said trip. Wasn’t beaten far in the King George Stakes at Goodwood, in August, over this trip, but very difficult to fancy back at top level, after a sound defeat in handicap company.
Very infrequent winner, but did well to land a Group 2 at Chantilly last June. Failed to hit the mark in any races since, and was well beaten at Longchamp, before being squeezed up close home. Since moved to little known trainer Xavier Nakkachdji, he was last seen finishing down the field in a handicap at Deauville, and cannot be fancied at all.
Useful sort who picked up a Listed event at Chantilly back in June, before two fair efforts, at Deauville, and in a Group 3 at Baden-baden. Hardly disgraced in defeat when beaten by a better horse on the day, on less than suitable ground. Drops back down in trip for this, but not one to invest heavily in on his first Group 1.
Picked up a minor event at the Curragh this time last year, before finishing runner up on his first real test in a Listed event, before signing off for the season. Dropped down on his comeback, to chase home former L’abbaye winner Maarek, but was very disappointing when last in Ascot’s King Stand, and could only beat one back at the Curragh in a Group 3, on a ride which could’ve been better. Still faces a stiff task back up in the top level.
Former Beverley Bullet hero (had to put that in there) was last in this last year, after a very busy season, but he heads for redemption in much better form, with ground to suit. He ran two massive races in defeat to Sole Power, earlier in the year, first in the Kings Stand, then in the Nunthorpe at York. Picked up a Group 3 after making most of the running, he heads here in much better form, with ground to suit, and looks a promising each way bet.
Picked this up last year in the mud, beating Catcall by a short neck, but has been more of an infrequent winner since again moving stables, but picked up a Group 2 at York over 6 furlongs. Posted three disappointing efforts over 6 furlongs after chasing home Slade Power at the Curragh in May, and remains of interest dropping in trip, but needs to get his ideal ground.
Maarek (8) and Catcall (15)
Frequents France a lot these days, picking up two wins in four trips, including over course and distance. Dead heated for the Group 3 Prix du Petit Couvert last year, a race which he won outright this year, on his last start, after running a great race to chase home Pearl Secret in the Beverley Bullet. Never failed to land a blow in this last year when held up by Richard Hughes, but has been much better this season, including when reversing the form with rival Son Cesio at Deauville back in July. Not hopelessly out of the equation.
Useful sort many moons ago, which saw him pick up two valuable handicaps at MEydan back in 2012, when still in training with Dandy Nicholls. Since moved to the care of John Murray, who sent him to tackle a 5 and a half furlong handicap at Doncaster, which saw him finishing a well beaten fourteenth of twenty, though he ran a huge race in the Epsom Dash back in June under Mickael Barzalona. Safe to say his best days are long behind him.
Hit and miss this season, but struck twice under Andrea Atzeni, landing a York Listed event and the King George Stakes at Goodwood in August, and finished two lengths behind Sole Power in the Nunthorpe. Very disappointing on soft at Newbury, but has claims on his form earlier in the year.
Anthem Alexander (left) & Tiggy Wiggy (right)
Surprise winner of a Group 2 at Chantilly in June, before a two length seventh to Sole Power in the Nunthorpe, and posted up a below par effort over course and distance in September, dropping to fourth on the line, but was eventually disqualified and placed last. Claims on Group 2 form, but this looks a tad on the difficult side.
Had a super season this year, claiming the scalps of most of these in the King’s Stand and Nunthorpe, before coming undone in the Sprint Cup due to the extra furlong. Was a keeping on sixth under Johnny Murtagh last year, in ground softer than ideal, but ran a huge race at Sha Tin in the Hong Kong sprint, over 6 furlongs, after that. Massive claims dropping down in trip.
Winless since chasing home Pearl Secret in the Temple Stakes, and posted up some fair efforts over this trip under Jamie Spencer, at York and Ascot, but failed to land a blow in the Sprint Cup at Haydock on his last start. Warrants respect on his old form, and looks a fair each way bet.
The white faced five year old missed a year owning to injury, and though he’s not been the same force of old since landing a minor Nottingham event, he did well to chase home Hot Streak at Haydock, before going onto land the Beverley Bullet, after being outpaced at Ascot in June. Wasn’t far behind in the Sprint Cup when outpaced a furlong out, and the drying ground and drop in trip for this is a definite plus.
Not win since last year’s King George Stakes at Goodwood, and didn’t really fire until August, when posted up a gallant effort in defeat, when trying to keep his crown at Goodwood, and finished a length fourth in the Nunthorpe, and was bitterly disappointing when stone last of seventeen in Haydock’s Sprint Cup. Not one to rely on.
Useful sort last year, including when chasing home Moviesta in last year’s King George Stakes (third), and picked up a Listed event at Doncaster, before running prominently and gradually weakening in this last year. Didn’t get off the mark until the beginning of August this year, having finished sixth three times, until picking up a minor event at Doncaster, before he tamely dropped to third in a Listed event at York, over 6 furlongs. Drop back in trip is a plus, as is the conditions underfoot, but doesn’t look top level material.
Unlucky not to win this last year when idling close home and eventually threw the race away, finishing a short neck to Maarek, before posting up a row of fifths at Meydan during the winter. Bounced back when running away with a Group 3 over course and distance, but left his best work for late at Chantilly in a Group 2, and again back over course and distance, having never able to land a blow when held up at the rear. He finished seventh in that, but was promoted to sixth, when Rangali was disqualified. Softening ground would be a plus, but is affective on good.
Useful handicapper this year, and surping a minor surprise at the Curragh when landing the Rockingham in July, and wasn’t beaten far when upped in trip for the Stewards’ Cup, when seventh of twenty four runners. At his best when picking up a deserved Listed success when rallying close home at Tipperary, and ran way better than his price suggested when a keeping on second to Stepper Point at the Curragh earlier in the month. Capable of running well if he can hold his own against horses at this level.
Running on sixth in the Windsor Castle, and followed that up with a win in a minor event at Bath, before chasing home the useful yardstick Limato in a Newbury Listed event. Much better back down in trip to pick up a Group 3 at Goodwood, when making all of the running, and had enough in the tank to fend off the fast finishing Fast Act, with Beacon back in third. Again tried to make all of the running at Doncaster, and was two lengths in front, before he drifted sharply (has previously done this), and sent George Baker into the town moor turf, when having the race in safe keeping. Claims if he can have his run of the race, but comes with obvious warning signs.
Had a busy season, making his seventh start. Rattled off a hat trick over this trip at Chantilly, but was soundly beaten at Maisons-Laffite in a Group 2, when fourth of five runners, won by Kool Kompany, and had fourth in safe keeping in the Prix Morny, three and a quarter lengths behind The Wow Signal. Drops down in trip, which is ideal, and good ground is suitable. May find a few too good,, though.
With the withdrawl of Tiggy Wiggy, my sole bet is CATCALL, who threw this away last year when she idled close home, to allow Maarek to get his head in front. Failed to win in three starts at Meydan, despite throwing up some eyecatching performances, but after winning a Group 3 over C&D, he’s left his best work until too late, failing to land a blow over here a couple weeks ago. The held up tactics are sure to suit a race like this, but will need to overcome the traffic problems and have plenty left in the tank.
Course and distance winner Stepper Point warrants respect, having previously beaten Sir Maximilian at the Curragh, and was twice runner up to Sole Power at the highest level this season, the latter who should be very difficult to beat, now dropping down to the minimum trip again, after being beaten by “will he, won’t he” contender, G Force. Cotai Glory will make plenty of appeal, if capable of repeating the Doncaster run, but comes with obvious warning signs as he’s previously drifted in the past, and did it sharply enough to send jockey George Baker to the ground last time out.
Frequent flyer Mirza steps back into Group 1 company after his sound defeat under a held up ride in this last year, but comes here on the back of a recent win, having previously beaten Move In Time, Son Cesio, and was second to Beverley Bullet hero Pearl Secret.
Catcall @ 16/1 E/W (Coral)
Stepper Point @ 8/1 (Hills)
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