Harp Star can shine in Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Harp Star looks to hold outstanding claims of landing today’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp (3.30) and becoming the first Japanese winner of Europe’s richest race.
The Hiroyoshi Matsuda trained three-year-old has won four of her six starts, including the Japanese 1,000 Guineas.
This daughter of Deep Impact was sent off the 30/100 favourite to land the country’s Oaks on the back of that success and, despite being beaten, put in an incredible performance.
Jockey Yuga Kawada employed exaggerated waiting tactics, and the pair had around 15 lengths to make up at the top of the straight with just two furlongs to run.
Harp Star then took off down the outside when finally asked for her effort and closed all the way to the line to go down by just a 1/4 of a length to Nuovo Record.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Harp Star was the best horse in that race, and the way she made up the ground suggested she had a huge engine.
Harp Star then got back to winning ways last time out in the Group 2 Sapporo Kinen when ridden more conventionally and finding plenty to fend off fellow Arc raider Gold Ship.
Her handler said she was just 70 per cent fit going into the contest and, if that is the case, we could see something really special from a fully firing Harp Star in this Group 1. The odds on offer make here decent value to land the spoils.
Betting on the Arc is headed by Ectot and Taghrooda, and both have solid claims in a wide open renewal.
The former is trained by Elie Lellouche and looks the leading home contender after making a winning return to action to land the Prix Niel on Arc trials day over course and distance following a five month lay-off.
Although Ectot only scored by a neck, this son of Hurricane Run won a shade cosily and the way in which he went through the gears to cruise into a lead a furlong from home marked him out as a colt of the highest order.
That was Ectot’s sixth straight success since finishing runner-up on debut and, from a good draw in stall 10, a big run looks assured.
Taghrooda lost her unbeaten record last time out when beaten 1/2 a length by Tapestry in the Yorkshire Oaks, but came into season the following day and that looks a valid excuse for what was a below par effort.
Prior to that, the John Gosden trained filly had put in sensational performances to land the Investec Oaks at Epsom by 3 3/4 lengths and the King George at Ascot by three lengths.
Taghrooda showed a terrific turn of foot on both occasions and, judged on those peeformances, the daughter of Sea The Stars is a major player.