Prix de l’arc de triomphe

I can trace all our problems back to Frankie Dettori

‘If you think about it, Frankie Dettori is to blame,’ said the builder boyfriend, because when things are really bad he deploys satire. One thing leads to another with horses, the joke goes, so we may as well trace our problems back as follows. If Dettori had not ridden a horse called Marienbard to victory in the 2002 Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe by bringing something magical out of a horse as slow as an elephant so that the Godolphin bay suddenly, like something out of a movie, exploded from the absolute back of the field to come from nowhere, overtaking horse after horse after horse in the final seconds

My Arc de Triomphe tips

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

How I won €160 by mistake

My French friend André speaks perfect English and is the kindest of men. After reading last week about my futile efforts to place a bet on the French state betting terminal in the village bar, he put himself out during the week to have a word with one of the bar staff. He gave her my description and told her to expect me to appear in the bar the following Sunday afternoon in time for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. And he drew an assurance from her that she would help me decipher the betting-form multiple-choice hieroglyphics. Or, better still, take a verbal betting instruction over the counter. I

French gambling is a mystery to me

Feeling oddly confident, clairvoyant even, I entered a bar to place a bet on Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. I had researched the internet for advice on how to place a bet in France and I knew I wanted to bet on a couplé gagnant, that is to say make a prediction of the first two horses past the post. Feeling almost supernaturally confident, I thought I would follow up with a wilder bet called a trio ordre, adding a third horse from among the outsiders. Because my desire to bet large on a classic horse race was overwhelming, and my conviction that I would win grandiose, I think