Prix de L’Abbaye tips – Preview of Sunday’s Group One sprint at Longchamp
Sunday at Longchamp promises to be a top-class and unmissable afternoon of horse racing action featuring the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and a number of other classy contests. We look over arguably the second best race on Sunday’s French racing card and give our Prix de L’Abbaye tips.
While the bulk of Sunday’s interest will surely fall upon the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Enable’s bid to make history by becoming the first triple winner, the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye is a solid supporting race on the same card and the classy sprint isn’t one to overlook.
We’ve taken a look over the ante-post market and highlight some possible contenders to consider with our Prix de L’Abbaye tips although multiple Group One winner Battaash has been ruled out due to the ground conditions and impending weekend forecast.
SUNDAY LONGCHAMP PREVIEW – PRIX DE L’ABBAYE TIPS
Took this prize twelve months ago and comes alive at this time of year; Kevin Ryan’s charge ought to continue to give a good account as she bids to defend his crown.
The Dream Ahead filly showed soft ground to hold no fears when outpointing So Perfect to take top honours in last season’s renewal which saw her land the third leg of a hat-trick having earlier struck at Deauville and Longchamp in lesser grades.
She has continued her progressive form this term although she was twice beaten by Battaash prior to getting back on the scoresheet at the Curragh latest when beating Keep Busy in the Derrinstown Flying Five Stakes and she’s sure to make her presence felt again with the probable soft ground no issue.
Only a three-year old but has stood plenty of racing and the Night Of Thunder filly has showm progressive form this term, chasing home Art Power in the Palace Of Holyroodhouse House Handicap at Royal Ascot and bouncing back from a lesser run at York to score at Hamilton.
John Quinn’s charge has reeled off three subsequent efforts in the frame including finishing third in the Beverley Bullet prior to that Curragh performance behind Glass Slippers, but she has to back up that performance which was a significant career-best.
Soft ground clearly suits however and another big run wouldn’t come as a surprise given she remains open to improvement although there’s a suspicion she was a shade flattered at the Curragh last time.
MAKE A CHALLENGE
Progressive Irish sprinter who found only A’Ali too strong at the Curragh back in July when touched off by one length in the Sapphire Stakes; but the Invincible Spirit gelding won his next two starts at the Curragh and Navan respectively albeit in Listed company.
Both those wins came in soft ground and his latest defeat behind Glass Slippers in the Flying Five was a better effort than it appears at face value given he probably found the ground too quick and was denied a clear run.
Trainer Denis Hogan will have been delighted to see recent rainfall and the Irish challenger heads to Longchamp with a big chance if the ground remains testing.
Lightly-raced and progressive sprinter who won his first three starts of the campaign, including a defeat of Group One winner Millisle in the Lacken Stakes prior to making the step into Group One company where he locked horns with Battaash in the Nunthorpe Stakes.
He was disappointing on that occasion although might have been unsuited by the quicker ground; but he bounced back with a better run back on softer conditions at Haydock in the Sprint Cup when beaten just over two lengths behind Dream Of Dreams.
Tim Easterby’s charge is another who won’t mind underfoot conditions if they remain on the soft side and there’s likely further progress to come from him given his low-mileage profile as a three-year old with just seven career starts.
He’ll need to be supplemented for the race if he’s to take his chances, but he’s a contender if lining up.
Progressed well last term, winning a pair of York handicaps before finding only one too good at Ayr in Listed company on her final start of the campaign.
Michael Dods’ charge has continued her steady progress this term, winning a Listed Ayr contest before going close behind subsequent July Cup winner Moss Gill back on the Knavesmire and getting to within one length of Battaash in the Nunthorpe Stakes.
She did however fail to run up to her best at the Curragh when beating only two home behind Glass Slippers in the Flying Five although she may have gone off too hard.
There is a suspicion though the Es Que Love filly had been flattered by her earlier proximity to two classy winners in her York endeavours and she’d likely need to find some improvement to make her mark in this race for which she also needs supplementing.
AIR DE VALSE
The pick of the home defence in the Prix de L’Abbaye looks to be Air De Valse although the Mesnil Des Aigles filly probably needs some improvement taking on established Group One performers.
She’s clearly no slouch as her record attests, winning three times this season which includes a defeat of Wooded in the Group Three Prix du Petit Couvert over this course and distance in September on better ground; but she showed effectiveness in softer conditions when chasing home Breathtaking Look at Deauville previously in heavy ground so these conditions won’t inconvenience.
However she has to prove she’s good enough at this top level to get competitive although Corine Barande-Barde’s charge is entitled to respect if finding the requisite improvement needed.
Connections of Battaash won’t have been happy to see recent rainfall and given how the crack sprinter floundered in the mud twelve months ago the multiple Group One winner has been ruled out of Sunday’s Longchamp feature.
Last season’s winner Glass Slippers comes alive at this time of year and is sure to have a say, but MAKE A CHALLENGE looks a very progressive sort who can take another forward step having won three of his last five starts and although only fifth latest behind Glass Slippers in the Flying Five Stakes he can overturn that form.
Possibly unsuited by the quicker ground on that occasion, the Invincible Spirit gelding was also denied a clear run but could be seen travelling well. He was only beaten around two lengths at the line despite meeting trouble and he can continue to make his presence felt for all he needs a shade more.
He’s well suited though to a soft surface and so conditions will be ideal for Denis Hogan’s charge who can deliver a big run.