Saturday 16 December 2017

Found facing a fight

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Found. Pic: Getty Images
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Found. Pic: Getty Images

By the time you read this Aidan O'Brien could well have added another Group One to his tally for the season as while most of us are in bed at 6.30am, Sir Isaac Newton will be lining up for the Caulfield Cup.

In what is being billed as something of a below-par renewal of the race, O'Brien's colt surely has to have major claims so as the master of Ballydoyle goes in chase of Bobby Frankel's record for Group One wins in a season, he may well head to Ascot today with one more than he had going to bed yesterday evening.

Spearheading the O'Brien challenge on Champions Day is Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Found, a filly that her trainer yesterday described as "the most genuine horse I've ever seen".

Given O'Brien's tendency to use superlatives it is easy to gloss over such a statement, but her consistency is without doubt and at Chantilly earlier in the month she got her due rewards when coming from an apparently very difficult draw to win Europe's premier race.

A horse that surprisingly wasn't in opposition that day was Irish Champion Stakes winner Almanzor. Despite his French connection, Jean Claude Rouget and his owner decided against staying local and stuck to 10 furlongs for a tilt at the British Champion Stakes.

There's no doubting he won the Irish equivalent fair and square and while this is certainly a very good time of year for Found, the freshness of an extra couple of weeks for Almanzor could be a deciding factor in what promises to be a thriller.

Last year's winner, Fascinating Rock, is one of three runners bidding to enhance Dermot Weld's great record at this meeting, but his best chance may be with Forgotten Rules.

In the Long Distance Cup that gets proceedings underway, Forgotten Rules will face a stiff task in turning over Order Of St George, if he brings his Arc form to the table, but expect a big run from the Weld runner.


There's plenty of action to keep an eye on today and even this evening it will be interesting to see how Ruby Walsh gets on as he flies over to America to ride Rawnaq in the American Grand National.

Walsh heads for New Jersey to ride the horse that beat the Willie Mullins duo of Shaneshill and Nichols Canyon earlier in the year, and the Kildare rider will be hoping to add the American Grand National to his haul in the Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australian and Japanese equivalent.

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