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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Tag' can follow in Daddy's hooves!

I suppose when I think back on 2009 and winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sea The Stars it feels like only yesterday. So it's hard to believe that we are looking ahead to this year's race with a daughter of Sea The Stars at the head of the betting.

It was a great day back then in Paris and everything went according to plan ... eventually I suppose! I'm not an over-confident person but I had struck up a great relationship with him and in my own mind I just couldn't see him getting beaten as I had so much belief in the horse and in his ability.

Admittedly, once the pace came out of the race at the top of the hill, it was a worry. I had to take him back a little bit early and I knew we were just getting a bit further back than ideal but I was always happy that if the gap came I had the horse to get me out of trouble and that's what happened really.

I went there with Montjeu in 1999 and he was favourite and I was riding for the French but it was the first time that I had gone to Longchamp and the world had turned up to see him win, not lose.

They clapped Sea The Stars into the parade ring and I just remember saying to John Oxx that I hope they will clap him back in 10 minutes time! Fortunately, they did.

That was a fantastic day as I went on to win the Prix du Cadran, also for John, but I had said to Catherine, my wife, that if Sea The Stars went well that I would finish up my riding career. I knew in my heart of hearts that it wasn't going to be my last weekend riding, but it was my last major weekend.

We've always felt that Sea The Stars would make it as a sire because of the faith we had in him and if Taghrooda could win the Arc it would be a fantastic way for him to sign off the season and I think she will win.

I would hate to see her get a high draw but she has a lot of her Daddy's strong points, in that she can travel and stay very well, and having that early pace will be ideal for her.

I spoke to John Gosden the other day and he was very happy with her but her jockey, Paul Hanagan, has never ridden a mile and a half around Longchamp, let alone had a ride in the Arc, so that is a little bit of a worrying statistic. But, as I said to John, at least he has no bad experience to go on!

His inexperience on the course would be a slight concern but Paul has been riding very well this year and has a lot of confidence in the filly so I'm sure they'll get on just fine.

It's a competitive looking race, as you would expect. Ectot was probably the pick of the trial winners and Ruler Of The World will be there too, but I give Kingston Hill an each-way shout.

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