Robin Oakley

My Arc de Triomphe tips

If I had to put my money down today, it would go on Dermot Weld’s filly Tarnawa

Eyecatching: Demot Weld’s great filly Tarnawa [PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo]

The emphasis may all be on speed horses these days, with breeders interested only in horses that struggle to get a yard more than ten furlongs without the aid of a horsebox. But I remain a devotee of the St Leger, the last and longest of the English Classics run at Doncaster over a mile and six furlongs. In this year’s contest it took only one look at the favourite Hurricane Lane, five furlongs out, to know that the money was as good as in your pocket. Jockey William Buick had him in the perfect rhythm in midfield and was clearly unworried when rival Rossa Ryan, on the handsome Mojo Star, struck for home three furlongs out to test the stamina of the chasing pack. A furlong later, Buick eased Hurricane Run up to the leader and won authoritatively by two and a quarter lengths.

Trainer Charlie Appleby had not a moment of anxiety, saying afterwards that watching had been an unusually enjoyable experience. ‘It was only a matter of time to ask him to click through the gears. For a horse who stays a mile and six he’s got a gear change and that’s what makes him stand out.’ Said Buick: ‘He’s a jockey’s dream. You can put him anywhere in the race and he relaxes, which is obviously vital over the distance.’ The where-next question, though, is complicated by the fact that occupying another box in Appleby’s Godolphin yard is one Adayar, the winner of this year’s Derby and well supported for racing’s richest autumn attraction, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on the first Sunday in October.

Which is really the better? True, at Epsom Hurricane Lane was only third (behind Mojo Star) when Adayar had his big day.

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