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2019 Prix Vermeille tips – Gosden’s Star could take some Catching in Longchamp’s Sunday highlight

Frankie Dettori guiding Star Catcher to victory in the Ribblesdale.

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the Group One feature on Arc Trials day at Longchamp and provides readers with his tips for Sunday 15th September.

The most high-profile race on Arc Trial’s day at Longchamp on Sunday is the Group One Prix Vermeille, a race which has been won by some wonderful fillies and mares down the years. First staged at this famous Parisienne venue in 1897, greats like Treve and Goldikova thrusting their names into the spotlights in recent seasons.

Success for British raiders has been sparse in the Prix Vermeille. It’s been nine years since Midday scored for Sir Henry Cecil and she’s just one of five British-based to have held off their French counterparts in the last three decades. History may be against them, but that hasn’t deterred some of the finest trainers in Britain and Ireland throwing their top fillies into the mix, with the top four names coming from either John Gosden or Aidan O’Brien.

Topping the billing we find Star Catcher (5/2 William Hill), who was last seen beating her Irish rivals in the Irish version of the Oaks at the Curragh. Fresh off his Ribblesdale winning exploits at Royal Ascot, Frankie Dettori gave Star Catcher a brilliantly confident ride that day, getting his fractions spot on at the head of the field before comfortably holding Fleeting at arm’s length to claim a famous victory.

The second Classic winner from Gosden’s stable to feature at Longchamp will be Anapurna, who saw off the charging Pink Dogwood to win the Oaks at Epsom. Gosden’s filly was fancied in some corners after a superb victory in the Lingfield Oaks Trial earlier in the spring. Just when it seemed Ryan Moore had timed his late charge to perfection on Pink Dogwood, Frankie battled back on Anapurna and she ground out a deserved Classic victory.

It seemed the Epsom Oaks was the number one objective for Pink Dogwood this season, as results since that narrow defeat have been rather underwhelming. Aidan O’Brien made the strange decision to drop his filly back to ten furlongs at in June, where she finished a staying-on third in the Pretty Polly Stakes. Pink Dogwood then fluffed the start behind Star Catcher in the Irish Oaks, crossing the line a five-length third.

Fleeting made eye-catching progress to carry a big price into the places at Epsom. O’Brien filly has since secured two good runner-up finishes to Star Catcher at Ascot and at the Curragh, running excellent races on both occasions. While her margin of defeat at the Curragh was just half-a-length, I think Star Catcher was very good value for that victory and Fleeting is going to have to up her game significantly if she wants to turn the tables on her Oaks conquerors.

The highest-placed French entrant in this years race is Francis-Henri Graffards’ Channel (10/1 Coral), the third Classic winner in the field, having scored nicely in the French Oaks earlier in the summer. Things then didn’t go to plan at Goodwood, where Channel struggled for finishing pace and faded late on in the Nassau Stakes. However, returning to softer French turf could be a big boost to her chances and, being by Nathaniel, I’m expecting Channel to take the step up to 12 furlongs firmly in her stride.

Musis Amica is another who’s stepping up in trip and Andre Fabre will be hoping the move to a mile-and-a-half will help his filly discover the form she showed last year, as her performances so far in 2019 haven’t been up to scratch. Villa Marina and Taniah both bring Group Three winning form with them to Longchamp, but this is a steep step up in grade to anything they have experienced previous and I can’t see either being good enough to get involved.

Clearly, this race hinges on the two Gosden fillies at the head of the market, especially after the draw placed them in stalls one and two. Horses drawn low can often have an advantage around the tight, turning track here at Longchamp. Both Star Catcher and Anapurna are more than comfortable sitting on the pace and they have both proven their stamina over this distances.

Channel makes a decent case for each-way selection sitting on her current, double-figure price. Yet, I could see this race turning into a real slugfest between John Gosden’s entrants. Anapurna showed plenty of class and grit at Epsom, but the time she has spent off the track since then is a little worrying. Frankie Dettori has chosen to ride STAR CATCHER, who has shown she has progressed as the season has worn on and will have a definite fitness edge over her stablemate. If allowed to dictate like he did at the Curragh, Frankie, and Star Cacther, could take all the beating.

Main Bet – STAR CATCHER (5/2 William Hill)

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2019 Prix Vermeille tips – Gosden’s Star could take some Catching in Longchamp’s Sunday highlight

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the Group One feature on Arc Trials day at Longchamp and provides readers with his tips for Sunday 15th September.

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