Meet the NBA all-star who wants to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

He is one of the most successful sports personalities his country has ever produced and has huge popularity both in France and in Texas, where he helped the San Antonio Spurs to four NBA Championships.

Now Tony Parker has returned to a childhood love of horses and has embarked on the life of a racehorse owner.

Nothing unusual about a wealthy sportsman investing in horses, you might think. But Parker is determined to spread the gospel that racing is a sport for everybody, with his Infinity Nine Horses stable attracting widespread attention on social media, and the launch of a new fly-on-the-wall documentary, Tony Parker: The Big Bet.

And he has made himself available to racing institutions, signing ambassadorial deals with Equidia – which co-produced the Big Bet – and France Galop.

“My idea is to modernise the world of racing and make it more popular, to shine a light on the sport and to share my excitement with the community,” said Parker at a press screening of episode one at Longchamp…

Sunday’s Group 1 Prix Jean Prat

Stakes Analysis of the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat from Deauville, France, a race that could produce a starter or two in this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.

Fast Raaj

Winner of the G3 Prix Djebel (1400m) at Deauville in April, Fast Raaj struggled to get involved in the G3 Jersey Stakes (1400m) at Royal Ascot subsequently. He is a specialist over this distance and can play a major role.

Colosseo

Colosseo returns to a shorter distance after a good second in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1600m) behind dual Classic winner St Mark’s Basilica. That was a career best performance from the Street Boss colt, and it will be interesting to see how he fares after a break. It will be Colosseo’s first attempt over less than 1600m.

Naval Crown

From the Charlie Appleby yard in Newmarket (UK), Naval Crown has featured in some of the best UK races of the season, including a fourth in the G1 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Newmarket (UK). His second in the G3 Jersey Stakes (1400m) is the strongest piece of form in the race and he looks very capable of winning. Godolphin has a good winning record in this race.

Erasmo

Erasmo is chasing a third consecutive win and made a successful step up in class when winning the G3 Prix Paul de Moussac (1600m) at Chantilly. He was a Listed winner over 1400m at Longchamp prior and can feature in the closing stages if continuing to progress.

Midtown

Midtown is unbeaten after two racecourse starts. He caught the eye on second outing with a comfortable two length success in the Listed Prix Herod (1400m) at Chantilly last November. This Andre Fabre trained colt is making his seasonal reappearance and is a full brother to Black Type performer Laieth. The Dubawi colt is open to further improvement and is another runner for Godolphin.

Mehmento

UK representative, Mehmento caught the eye with a comfortable two length success in a conditions race at Epsom Downs over 1400m in early June. He struggled in the G2 Jersey Stakes (1400m) subsequently and would need to find more.

Laws of Indices

The Ken Condon trained Law of Indices has been racing consistently at a good level and closed off his juvenile season with a third in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardare (1400m) behind Sealiway. He was fifth in the G1 Commonwealth Cup (1200m) and may appreciate the slight step up in trip.

Thunder Moon

Thunder Moon was an exciting juvenile, winning the G1 National Stakes (1400m) at the Curragh and placing third in the G1 Dewhurst Stakes (1400m) at Newmarket behind subsequent dual Classic winner St Mark’s Basilica. He has struggled in both starts over 1600m this year and could stage a revival over a shorter distance.

France ChantillyBest Lightning

Best Lightning is a German representative and finished second in the G2 German 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Cologne. He followed up with a second behind Erasmo in the G3 Prix Paul de Moussac (1600m) at Chantilly and drops in trip.

Battleground

Battleground was arguably one of the best two-year-olds for Aidan O’Brien last year, ending the season with a second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (1600m). He out-ran his odds when third in the G1 St James’ Palace Stakes (1600m) at Royal Ascot and is probably better over 1400m. With the stable currently in-Group One winning form, he could further improve.

Wembley

One of two runners for in-form trainer Aidan O’Brien, Wembley will be looking to recapture his best from his juvenile campaign. His second behind St Mark’s Basilica in the G1 Dewhurst Stakes (1400m) is a useful piece of form but he has failed to run up to that level in three starts in 2021.

Valloria

Valloria takes a step up in grade after a win in the Listed Prix Volterra (1600m) at Longchamp in June. Though progressive she faces a very competitive field.

Reina Madre

Reina Madre impressed with a hard-fought success in the G3 Prix Imprudence (1400m) at Deauville in April but failed to make an impression in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (1600m) subsequently. She returns to her preferred distance.

 

WIN – NAVAL CROWN

DARK HORSE – LAW OF INDICES

 

Source: French PMU

Breeders’ Cup 2018: International Win And You’re In

Note: The Arc is today in France

Godolphin’s 5-year-old, 2.8-1 favorite Fine Needle (JPN) closed powerfully in the last 100 yards under jockey Yuga Kawada to collar 3-year-old filly Love Kampf (JPN) at the wire to win Sunday’s six furlong, $2,169,091 Sprinters Stakes (G1) at Nakayama Racecourse by a neck, and earned an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 85 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 2-3.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Fine Needle to start in the $1 million Turf Sprint, a Grade 1 race run at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, for three-3-year-olds and up, at Churchill Downs on Nov.3. Breeders’ Cup also is providing all starters based outside of North Americas with a $40,000 travel allowance to compete in the World Championships.

Fine Needle joins Disco Partner, who won the Jaipur Invitational (G2) at Belmont Park in June and Havana Grey (GB), who captured the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (G1) earlier this month at Leopardstown as the other Turf Sprint “Win and You’re In” contenders.

Melbourne_Australian racingToday’s 52nd Sprinters Stakes was run under rainy conditions with a huge typhoon closing in. Once in a Moon (JPN) gunned for the lead in the 16-horse field and set the pace. Fine Needle, trained by Yoshitada Takahashi, broke from post 8 and was settled in mid-field and three-wide. Shifting farther out in the last turn to avoid traffic, he unleashed his trademark turn of foot all the way to the wire while picking off his rivals one by one and finally catching Love Kampf in the final strides to win by a neck.

Sent off at 31-1, Love Kampf broke sharply and chased the pace in second. Hitting the straight still in second and two-wide, she took over the lead from the pacesetter while shaking off second favorite Nac Venus (JPN) 100 meters out and dug in gamely but was pinned by the winner at the wire.

Rhein Spirit (JPN) saved ground in third to fourth, struggled for room behind the battling front runners in the stretch, but broke through chasing Love Kampf in the final 50 meters, stretching his neck in front of Daimei Princess (JPN) to grab third.

Fine Needle completed the six furlongs in 1:08.3 under a course listed as good.

Fine Needle, a bay son of Admire Moon (JPN), won his fourth group stakes race is five starts this year. On Sept. 6, he came back after a four-month layoff to score an impressive 1 ½-length victory over Love Kampf at Hanshin in the six-furlong Centaur Stakes (G2). He began 2018 by winning the six-furlong Silk Road Stakes (G3) at Kyoto by two lengths on Jan. 28, and returned in March to take the Group 1 Takamatsumomiya Kinen at Chukyo by a nose. His lone defeat this year was in Hong Kong in late April where he finished fourth, beaten four lengths in the Group 1 Chairman’s Prize at Sha Tin.

Fine Needle was bred by Darley Japan KK.

“I am relieved to have been able to come up with the best results as the race favorite,” said Takahashi. “I knew by the look of Fine Needle’s eyes at the saddling area that he had switched into racing mode. He was positioned exactly where I had imagined and I was a little concerned when the jockey was urging the horse on at the third corner, but the horse got into gear and then geared up again once entering the stretch so from there I was just hoping with all my heart that he would reach the leader in time.”

Said winning-jockey Kawada: “He wasn’t as sharp in the first half of the race and we had to race further out than we’d hoped, but despite the unideal trip, he really made up for it with his legs at the straight and we just managed to clinch our victory at the wire. He sure validated his win in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen with this JRA-sprint-G1 double and two other grade-race victories which undoubtedly places him as the top sprinter in Japan.”

Six Things You Didn’t Know About Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

France Chantilly France’s Biggest Horse Race

… including horse races, come with a hefty price tag to attend, tickets to the Arc start at … and the entrance fee is waived for anyone under 18. Comparatively, a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby costs $40 six months out …

NY Times Source: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: 6 Facts About France’s Biggest Horse Race

Japan’s Arc de Triomphe Contender Satono Diamond

Satono Diamond lines up in next weekend’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe attempting to end years of Japanese heartbreak in European racing’s crown jewel. Since El Condor Pasa’s gallant second to Montjeu in 1999 the lure of the Arc has become an obsession in Japanese racing circles. In 2006 Deep Impact was memorably backed through the… [Read more…]