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Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe Day 2 | 3 October

We’ve reached the summit of the French racing season, culminating in the $8m Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday night accompanied by a bagful of cracking Group 1s with some sensational horses engaged.

The promised rain has arrived and conditions should be genuinely choppy, so I’m looking for the mudlarks here in the same manner as last year. The fence should be where the money is as the rail should cut back to a fresh strip of ground about 8 horses wide. Inside draws or on-speed should be crucial, and in the Abbaye you want low draws.

Two good winners from yesterday’s four plays have filled the coffers with cash to play with tonight.


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I love RACLETTE but I do not expect her to take her place in this lineup. She’s a promising type with a lethal turn of foot and they won’t risk her on bottomless ground. That opens things up for a filly like ACER ALLEY who will relish this slop. At Saint Cloud she skipped clear to win well on a heavy track before accounting for some smart horses at G3 level at this track last time out. I don’t mind her being drawn wide at all here despite the likely inside bias, she has the best mudlark credentials.

NATASHA must be rated highly by connections to be thrown into a G1 now. She’s progressed nicely with each start without being breathtaking but I get a big impression she’ll absolutely thrive on a bottomless track with the way she runs and she could be a large bit of value here. Dettori and Strawbridge usually produce big results.

OSCULA had ZELLIE behind when winning in France three starts back. She looks like the type to do well in the wet having won on soft that day. Crucially she’s drawn with well with more gate speed than FLEUR D’IRIS which could make a huge difference in the first race with fresh ground.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) — Acer Alley for 1 unit

BACK (WIN) — Natasha for 1 unit

BACK (WIN) — Oscula for 1 unit

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Somehow STONE AGE managed to get beat last time out after being backed from $11 into $4.30. He went down in a photo in G2 company and did a fair bit wrong, but there was a serious engine there to make up as many lengths as he did in a short space of time. They’ve forked out the late entry fee to throw him in this, and following the trends with Aidan O’Brien horses who are heavily backed as 2yos in G1’s, they usually turn into extremely smart 3yos. He’s a Galileo and I expect him to handle conditions. They saw the forecast, so why enter him if they don’t think he can swim?

NOBLE TRUTH bounced back to form at Doncaster after inexplicably running a stinker at York. He showed a tremendous attitude to knuckle down and fight out the finish and I think he might go even better again now on a sloppy deck. He will have to improve to beat the likes of EBRO RIVER who is a G1 winner in the wet, and ANCIENT ROME who I doubt will enjoy the mud as a son of War Front.

ANGEL BLEU next best, Frankie’s riding style is just so well suited to Paris Longchamp.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) — Stone Age for 2 units

BACK (WIN) — Noble Truth for 1 unit

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The $8,000,000 big one! Would have liked to see Verry Elleegant give this a shake, especially with heavy 9-10 range we’re getting, but alas she stayed home to get rinsed by Chapada.

Aidan O’Brien is likely to send Broome forward here to ensure there is a proper G1 gallop for Snowfall. Deep Bond should sit OSL, Hurricane Lane and Mojo Star next pair with Tarnawa and Adayar third pair.

My eyes here are drawn to the Godolphin colts. ADAYAR has had one go on heavy ground and won his maiden by 9L in a breeze. HURRICANE LANE did almost the same, and his only defeat came at the hands of Adayar in the Epsom Derby. There should be no queries whatsoever about handling the going. Adayar proved his demolition job in the Derby was no fluke when he backed it up in the King George by destroying Mishriff, who went on to win the Juddmonte by a lap. He is the perfect horse for 2400m and the only possible chink in his armour I can find is that he missed some work and had a setback with no leadup run into this. If he had run and won, we might be looking at a $3 quote for him here. He’s got the 1.5kg weight advantage on Tarnawa as a 3yo, and has the wood over his stablemate the last time they met. He will surely press forward into the first 6 from the gate and be rattling home late on. Clear top pick on ratings.

The horse most likely to beat him has to be HURRICANE LANE. He has shown incredible cruising speed in every start bar the derby when he was beaten by Adayar (lost a shoe so perhaps an excuse) and cut the field to shreds in the G1 GPDP on his last run in France when Aidan O’Brien launched a pacemaker out in front. His gate here means he will be very close to the fence and that could prove crucial as a lot of winners tend to duck across to the rail in the Arc. It’ll be fresh enough ground considering only three races will have been run on it prior. He is the map horse, but jockey bookings say Adayar is the stable’s top seed. I still think he is worth backing considering he will almost certainly run top three and look the winner at some stage.

TARNAWA was my futures pick from 12 months ago. She was $9 for much of the year until others started dropping away and now comes close to favouritism after others have dropped out of contention and she ran a stormer when 2nd to St Mark’s Basilica on resumption. I do not like gate 3 for her here whatsoever though. She is drawn to cop the pacemaker falling into her lap if she gets sucked into the rail as Christoph Soumillon so often does. I would expect her to be the hard luck story of the race and even more so if she settles 4 pairs back the fence. They won’t fan out for her to get clear unless some magical gap appears on the rail. She probably loses a couple of lengths in the mud too, but still handles it pretty well as she’s a G1 winner here in these conditions. I have her as an $8 chance.

SNOWFALL is the big question mark here. Her Oaks win was stupidly good when pulling miles clear to win in a record margin. What did she beat though? Not a lot have gone on with it since then unless dropped back in trip (Santa Barbara, Saffron Beach) and the horse 20L behind her Teona thrashed Snowfall last time out at G1 level. She may well improve again back on softer ground but she really didn’t pick up like you expect an Arc winner to. She does carry just 55kg with the 3yoF allowance which has proven a big advantage in the past. Just not sure she can beat the boys here.

DEEP BOND stole the race last time out from the front. Won’t get a 10L lead gift-wrapped and presented on a platter this time, nor will he enjoy the swamp. Better over further ground too.

ALENQUER has 7L to find on Hurricane Lane, who has 7L to find on Adayar. Not for me.

RAABIHAH a maiden in the wet, SEALIWAY a mudder but not up to G2 standard.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) — Adayar for 4 units

BACK (WIN) — Hurricane Lane for 3 units

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To my eye this is a race in three and I’ll be backing all three to ensure profit.

GRAND GLORY was too good in the Romanet, coming from off the speed to beat them all and nailing Audarya on the line before winning again at Vichy. She is airborne and savages the line in the wet or on dry, it doesn’t matter to her. She may take a long time to hit top gear but I’d be stunned if she’s not rattling home late with Frankie booked to ride.

AUDARYA was the aforementioned runner up who was collared late and this time she’s drawn much better and can get the run of the race. If she had won last start she’s probably $3 here, and I would expect full use of the gate. She has enough class to win this if back to her best though she does concede weight to JOAN OF ARC who should be right at home returning to France. She got burnt in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and didn’t stay the 2400m in the Vermeille. Down in trip as a 2000m specialist in the wet, this should suit quite nicely and she has the best credentials of the 3yo fillies. She was electric at Chantilly though tiring late, so shaving the 100m off and dropping to 2000m is perfect, with a good gate to match.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) — Audarya for 2.5 units

BACK (WIN) — Grand Glory for 1.25 units

BACK (WIN) — Joan Of Arc for 1.25 units

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Everything here points to a SUESA romp except for one crucial thing and that is the draw. She’s out in gate 12 and right in the wet patch where no one wants to be. Inside 5 gates have a brilliant record in this race in the wet:
Gate 2 won last year with gate 4 in third.
Gate 3 won 2019, with gates 1, 4, 5 rounding out the first four.
It’s the only race where they use this part of the track so the fresh ground is clear to see. It’ll take a big, big run from Suesa to defy the bias so I’m specking a few roughies drawn ideally.

A CASE OF YOU was very good in the Flying Five when failing to get the better of Romantic Proposal, the draw here is advantageous and I like the flat 1000m after failing over 1200m up the hill at Royal Ascot.

LADY IN FRANCE is a massive price for a pure mudder who can sit handy and hold her spot for a long, long way. If she can cross some of the slower types drawn the fence she’s going to outrun her price for sure.

AIR DE VALSE back onto soft ground and potentially leading along the rail might prove extremely difficult to run down. He’s looked average his last few but I think a return to bottomless ground is in his favour and he’s a big, big price.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) — A Case Of You for 1 unit

BACK (EW) — Air De Valse for 0.5 unit

BACK (EW) — Lady In France for 0.5 unit

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This really should be another G1 for SPACE BLUES and the only threat should be KINROSS. Exposed too early and needing the run, 1L separated the pair at Goodwood. Fully fit, Space Blues easily won the City Of York G2 and steps back up to G1 company at a track he’s already won at. If he’s not position last (they will go pretty slowly here) he will be storming home late with KINROSS alongside him. Kinross is at best a 70-rater on dry ground but becomes a G2-G1 threat with conditions like this. The last time he saw ground in heavy territory he won eased down, 8L on debut. The pair are better than these, and the only other possible threat would come from LAST EMPIRE attempting to make all on the fence.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) — Space Blues for 3.5 units

BACK (WIN) — Kinross for 2 units

BACK (WIN) — Last Empire for 0.5 units


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