Arc entry for the Menuisier team, Wonderful Tonight is concerned about the good ground at Longchamp

Wonderful Tonight

David Menuisier is likely to declare Wonderful Tonight for the Prix Foy this weekend – but the current good ground at Longchamp is causing him some concern.

Menuisier had his fears confirmed at York that his stable star was not as effective on a quick surface when she could only finish fourth behind Snowfall in the Yorkshire Oaks.

Wonderful Tonight is also still engaged in the Prix Vermeille, in which she would have to take on Snowfall once more. But Menuisier favours taking on the boys with his Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe contender – if the ground is suitable.

“I think we’ll declare in the Foy, but that doesn’t mean we’ll run as the ground is currently good with a read of 3.2, that’s the quick side of good which is not our cup of tea,” said Menuisier.

“If the rain doesn’t materialise, unfortunately we’ll have to bypass and go straight for the big one.

“The forecast is the same as England and Ireland this weekend. You might get lucky and get some rain or you could be unlucky and get none.

“The French do always keep the ground moist so it won’t be rock hard, but we know the filly is not the same on good ground. It wouldn’t be the right thing to do to give her a hard race before her main target of the year, which is the Arc.

“If we don’t get her ground we’ll sit and wait and hope for the best on the first weekend of October.”

Last year Wonderful Tonight won the Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend and then followed up at Ascot on Champions Day – and should conditions suit the two meetings could be on the cards once more.

“Last year, it wasn’t the plan to do both meetings, but three days after Longchamp she was climbing up the trees so we sent her to Ascot,” said Menuisier.

“At the moment it is very hard to predict, but Ascot is very much on the agenda. If the weather isn’t more in our favour by the first week in October we might have to accept that we won’t run in the Arc.

“Realistically speaking, if the ground is quick she won’t win. That is what we gained by running at York, we know she is not the same filly on good ground.

“I’m thrilled we ran at York because if we hadn’t we could be tempted to run this weekend on unsuitable ground which would mean she’d give herself a hard race much nearer the Arc.”

Among Wonderful Tonight’s possible opponents in the Foy are Skalleti, Broome and Deep Bond from Japan.

Snowfall is one of 12 still in the Vermeille, one of which is her stablemate Love.

Roger Varian’s Teona, Mark Prescott’s Alpinista and Andre Fabre’s Philomene remain in the mix.

O’Brien’s Bolshoi Ballet is the leading light in the Prix Niel, with The Mediterranean and Pretty Tiger among the seven left in.

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UK and Irish race fans urged to attend this year’s 100th edition of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

France Galop is encouraging racegoers from Britain and Ireland to make the trip to ParisLongchamp next month for the 100th edition of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The 12-furlong showpiece is an undoubted highlight of the autumn – and after it was contested with just a limited crowd last year because Covid restrictions, officials at France Galop are eager to celebrate the race’s centenary with a bigger audience in attendance.

Plans are in place to deck out the track in the silks of the 99 previous winners of the race, with former winning riders set to be invited as France Galop acknowledges a landmark occasion.

France Galop’s general manager Olivier Delloye has outlined requirements for British and Irish fans to attend the fixture, where face masks will be required indoors and outdoors wherever social distancing is not possible and proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test is a necessity.

In a press conference via Zoom on Monday, he said: “The number of daily cases is decreasing every day – so people who are keen to come to France, especially in the Paris area, I think provided they are themselves vaccinated, should not be afraid about the situation here.

“There’s no limit on capacity this year. All that people need to go to the races is to show this ‘health pass’ – either showing you are fully vaccinated, or you can show a negative PCR or antigen test – and we will be offering the service of antigen tests at the gates of ParisLongchamp.

“It’s obviously much easier for British racegoers if they are vaccinated, knowing there will be no quarantine going back home for them. This trip to Paris for the Arc would be much easier for those who are fully vaccinated.”

Given travel restrictions can be changed at short notice, Delloye confirmed a refund policy is in place should the situation change.

He added: “Should there be any change in England as far as restrictions are concerned for people coming back from France, obviously we will reimburse people who purchase their ticket ahead of the event.”

Delphine Violette, sales director and marketing of France Galop, admitted to concerns the crowd could be down on the 2019 total of 42,000 if people believe a trip to France will prove difficult.

She said: “We noticed that 50% of fans are from England and Ireland – and we fear that with Covid, people will not come because of some restrictions. That is why we are explaining that it will be easy to come to ParisLongchamp, if you are vaccinated of course. We invite people from England and Ireland to come back to the Arc.”

Of advanced ticket sales, Delloye added: “They are definitely behind our 2019 figures, but that is the same for French spectators as well – I think the trend is consistent on both sides of the Channel.

“We felt that from England it’s not obvious you can go racing without any limit of capacity and under what conditions, so it was important for us to share the information.”

Snowfall winning the Irish Oaks in July

This year’s Arc is shaping up into a clash of the titans – with dual Oaks winner Snowfall currently heading the market for Aidan O’Brien ahead of Charlie Appleby’s Derby and King George hero Adayar and the Dermot Weld-trained Tarnawa, who was victorious at last year’s Breeders’ Cup.

Mishriff, Hurricane Lane and Wonderful Tonight are also prominent in the betting, with Saiydabad the shortest-priced potential French runner at 20-1, leading Delloye to think visiting racegoers will be cheering home a familiar winner.

He added: “It’s a little early to be sure of the line-up for the race, but we definitely hope to gather the likes of Tarnawa, Mishriff, Adayar, potentially Hurricane Lane and some others.

“We are looking for the big French runners this year, and I think we are a little below what we are used to providing for the race in the last few years, so it looks like it will be an English or Irish Arc this year, unless Mr (Andre) Fabre unveils a great horse – as he can do.”

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€160m bid for Paris St Germain forward Kylian Mbappe by Real Madrid according to Spanish and French media reports.

Mbappe contract ends in June next year and PSG will try to keep him

Real Madrid have made a €160m bid for Paris St Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, according to Spanish and French media reports.

There was no immediate comment from either club.

France’s L’Equipe said PSG’s position remained unchanged, with the Ligue 1 club determined to keep Mbappe until at least the end of his contract in June next year even if he could then leave for nothing.

Spain’s Marca said the move was a first step by Real, who have long had their sights on the 22-year-old World Cup-winner who scored 42 goals in all competitions for PSG last season and has reportedly said he wants to move to Spain.

The As.com website quoted Real sources as saying however that the fact money was not an issue for wealthy Qatar-owned PSG was an obstacle for Real.

Sky Sports said the offer was made on Sunday.

Any sale of Mbappe would allow PSG to recoup some of the costs of Lionel Messi’s salary package after they signed the Argentina forward and six times Ballon d’Or winner from Barcelona earlier this month.

PSG ended last season with only one major trophy, the French Cup, after losing the league title by one point to Lille and crashing out in the Champions League semi-finals.

Real, now managed by Italian Carlo Ancelotti, were runners-up domestically last season to city rivals Atletico.

Mbappe joined PSG from AS Monaco in 2017, on loan initially and then permanently a year later in a deal valued at €180m.

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Sub goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga helps Chelsea to win the EUFA Super Cup Trophy

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel revealed the decision to bring goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on for the Super Cup penalty shoot-out win over Villarreal stemmed from extensive statistical research.

There were eyebrows raised as Kepa replaced Edouard Mendy towards the end of the 1-1 draw at Belfast’s Windsor Park on Wednesday night.

The two sides could not be settled over 120 minutes after Hakim Ziyech’s effort for the Champions League holders was cancelled out by Gerard Moreno.

Europa League winners Villarreal hit the woodwork twice but came up short in the shoot-out as Kepa saved from both Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol, with Chelsea winning 6-5 after Kai Havertz had missed the first spot-kick.

Kepa saved two penalties

Mendy had enjoyed a decent night between the posts but showed no signs of annoyance when he was replaced with just seconds remaining as Tuchel explained the effort put in by his staff to find his best goalkeeper for saving penalties.

“Since I arrived we have an unbelievable amount and quality of support in the structure of the club and this is one good example,” he said.

“In my first cup game (as Chelsea boss) against Barnsley we had talks with the goalkeeper coaches and the analysing department, who came up with a statistic that Willy Cabellero was the best in penalty defending.

“They analysed thousands of penalties from Willy, then second-best was Kepa and third-best was Edouard in this statistic.

“So we spoke to all three of the goalkeepers very openly that it can be that when we have a situation like this and we have a change left, then we take the change.

“Not for personal reasons but to help the team, to improve the chances because we had this proof of statistics.

“Willy is not there any more but the three accepted it in a fantastic manner, it showed all the spirit that this team trains and lives together and they said this is absolutely no problem.

“You see today, Mendy puts his ego to the side when we take this decision and he was aware – I think that is key, he is aware why we do this.

“It is not a sudden idea of the manager on the sideline. This was planned and openly discussed with the goalkeepers and I’m very happy they showed this type of team spirit and it was fine to take this one to the team.”

Thomas Tuchel speaks to his players before the penalty shoot out at Windsor Park

It was not all good news for Chelsea on a day when Romelu Lukaku landed in the country to seal his return to Stamford Bridge.

Ziyech, who was the best player on the pitch and broke the deadlock by turning home a Havertz cross, was forced off with a shoulder problem before half-time.

“If you take a player out during the first half it’s serious,” Tuchel told BT Sport when asked about Ziyech’s injury.

“We overused some players who were absolutely not ready to play 120 minutes and have only two days in between this and the next match with Crystal Palace so that absolutely does not help us.

“We came (to Belfast) with so many players who did not even play a friendly match so far so this is the situation – we have to adapt and we have to, in our mindset, be as ready as we can be to do our very best.”

Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery saw off the Gunners and Manchester United to win the Europa League last season, beating the Red Devils in a shoot-out in the final, but he could not make it a hat-trick of Premier League scalps.

“Last year we played a lot of games in the Europa League,” Emery said.

“We won it and this year we are going to play in the Champions League, we are going to try and progress wherever we can progress and the club is ready to help us with that, keep a good squad and giving the stability they have always.

“We’re going to be playing in the Champions League this year so we need to compete against those teams like we did in today’s game.

“Today was about playing against the best team in the world. So the idea was to enjoy it but also be competitive.”

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In Swoop, runner-up in the Arc, is forced into retirement due to injury.

In Swoop, runner-up in the 2020 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is just beaten by Sottsass last year.

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up In Swoop has been retired due to injury.

Winner of the German Derby last summer, Francis-Henri Graffard’s charge went on to chase home Mogul in the Grand Prix de Paris before being beaten a neck by Sottsass in Europe’s premier middle-distance contest at ParisLongchamp in October.

The four-year-old had made a pleasing start to the current campaign, winning at Group Three and Group Two level, but could finish in only fourth place when favourite for last month’s Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

Graffard said: “Basically he suffered a career-ending injury in his last race. It was decided to retire the horse.
“It’s disappointing, of course, as we were looking forward to having another go at the Arc.

“He’s been a very good horse for us, winning the German Derby on just his third career start.”

The Revenant (red) pulling clear to win the QEII

The trainer provided a more positive update on his star miler The Revenant.

The Dubawi gelding won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot last autumn – and while he was beaten twice in the spring, he is reported to be in rude health following a mid-season break.

“He’s back in full work and we will see him back this autumn,” Graffard added.

“All is good with him. If he’s ready there is a Group Three at Deauville at the end of August that he could run in.

“He likes soft ground and the ground has been soft this summer, but there wouldn’t have been any races for him anyway as he’s a gelding.”

We have a selection on our website for Limerick today. One from Newbury and one for Vaal, South Africa.

We hope that you all took our advice with Collin Morikawa winning the Open Championship. Our pre-tournament advice was 33/1 so that was a nice return. Today is the start of the 3M Open and visit our site to see who we advise today. We have one selection each from Vaal in South Africa, Newbury and Limerick. All our tips are free on Yeowsa

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Aidan O’Brian targets the Group 1 Races at Goodwood

Aidan O’Brien has high hopes for his Battleground

Aidan O’Brien could saddle a three-pronged assault in his bid for a sixth victory in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

It is 21 years since the popular Giant’s Causeway provided the Ballydoyle handler with his first win in the prestigious Group One contest, a success he still recalls fondly two decades on.

The record-breaking Rock Of Gibraltar (2002), Henrythenavigator (2008), Rip Van Winkle (2009) and The Gurkha (2016) have all since added their names to the roll of honour in a race O’Brien ranks highly in the Flat racing calendar.

“Giant’s Causeway is a horse that would come to mind when you think of the Sussex. It’s a very difficult race to win,” said the trainer.

“It’s a very prestigious mile race. It’s the ultimate test really – it’s up and it’s down and it’s left and right. They have to have speed and stamina and they have to be very versatile.

“It can be the ultimate test of a miler, physically and mentally. It’s a very important race in the pedigree of a horse going to stud.”

O’Brien has Lope Y Fernandez, Order Of Australia and Battleground pencilled in as a potential runners in this year’s renewal.

Lope Y Fernandez was last seen filling the runner-up spot behind Palace Pier in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, while Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Order Of Australia opened his account for the campaign in the Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh last weekend.

O’Brien said: “Order Of Australia has come out of the race (on Sunday) well. He cantered today and yesterday and he’s very well.

“It’s very possible that he could go. Obviously when he only ran at the weekend, we’d like to get him back in full work for four or five days and do the right thing for the horse.

“We’re looking forward to Lope Y Fernandez. We have the choice of running here or going to the Lennox Stakes, but at the moment we’re thinking of the Sussex. He worked this morning and we were very happy with him.”

Battleground, who won the Vintage Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival last summer, is a much bigger price than his two stablemates, having been well beaten on his latest outing in the Prix Jean Prat Deauville.

However, O’Brien feels he is better judged on his third place in the St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting last month.

He added: “He ran a very big race in Ascot. He was a little bit disappointing the last day, but he was drawn out on a wing and he’s a horse that likes to get cover.

“We’ve been very happy with him since and we think Goodwood will suit him – we think he’ll leave that run behind him and come right back to his Ascot run and better.

“It’s very possible that he could go to the Sussex as well.”

O’Brien is also set to be well represented in Tuesday’s Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup, a Group One contest he won twice with the legendary stayer Yeats in 2006 and 2008.

Earmarked as possible runners next week are last year’s third Santiago, last season’s Derby winner Serpentine and Amhran Na Bhfiann. All three finished down the field in the Gold Cup last month, although the latter has since bounced back with victory in the Curragh Cup.

“We think coming back to two miles will help Santiago and Amhran Na Bhfiann the same,” said O’Brien.

“There’s a chance that Serpentine will run as well. We were thinking two of the three, we just haven’t decided yet which two.”

Thursday’s Group One feature at Goodwood is the Qatar Nassau Stakes.

With 1000 Guineas heroine Mother Earth set to wait for the Prix Rothschild at Deauville, in the mix from Ballydoyle are Irish 1,000 Guineas one-two Empress Josephine and Joan Of Arc. The latter has since won the Prix de Diane and appears the team’s chief hope.

O’Brien added: “The two fillies we were training for it (Nassau) are Joan Of Arc, who won the Diane, and Empress Josephine.

“Joan Of Arc has been progressing lovely all season and we’ve been looking at this with her for a good while.

“Empress Josephine could step up to a mile and a quarter to run it as well. That’s not definite, but it’s very possible.”

Robbie Power to have back surgery and will miss the Galway Festival

Robbie Power has confirmed he will not be riding at next week’s Galway festival due to upcoming surgery on an old back injury. A former Grand National winning jockey, Power tweeted on Monday that he hoped to be back riding for the Listowel Festival in September.

“Unfortunately I have to undergo surgery this week on an old back injury and won’t be fit for next week’s Galway Festival. Disappointing but hopefully will be back in September in time for Listowel,” wrote Power.

The Meath jockey has enjoyed numerous Group 1 successes over the years, winning the Aintree Grand National aboard Silver Birch in his second ride in the race in 2007.

He enjoyed a bumper year in 2017, winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Punchestown Gold Cup on the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John.

We have a selection on our website for Ballinrobe today. One from Beverley and one for Greyville, South Africa.

We hope that you all took our advice with Collin Morikawa winning the Open Championship. Our pre-tournament advice was 33/1 so that was a nice return.

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Success for Morikawa at The Open

We hope that followers of Yeowsa took our advice and stuck with Collin Morikawa, who is the new Open Champion and he intends to take a breather and drink in the history of his achievement – but he will let his caddie choose what gets put in the Claret Jug. We advised him at 33/1 pre-tournament start.

The American, who won the 2020 US PGA Championship on just his second major start, held his nerve to keep compatriot Jordan Spieth at bay on the closing stretch and become the first player to win two different majors on debut.

He eventually finished two shots clear of Spieth on 15 under and became only the second person after Tiger Woods to win the Open and US PGA before the age of 25.

And having restrained himself all week, he is planning a celebration before heading home.

“I think when you make history – and I’m 24 years old – it’s hard to grasp, and it’s hard to really take it in,” he said.

“At 24 it’s so hard to look back at the two short years that I have been a pro and see what I’ve done because I want more.

“I enjoy these moments and I love it and I want to teach myself to embrace it a little more.

“We’ve been staying at the hotel right by the course. Every night I see all the caddies drink, and I’m like ‘Man, I really want to drink, but I hold back. I hold back on tournament week’.

“It’s JJ’s (caddie JJ Jakovac) birthday. I’m going to let him decide (what drink to put in the Claret Jug).”

While Morikawa may have been staying away from the alcohol this week, his success seems to have been partly fuelled by fast food.

“The secret? Well, I never do this, but I had a burger for four straight days, so my body is probably feeling it. I know my body’s feeling it,” he added.

“I think I just enjoy these moments and I talk about it so much that we love what we do.”

When Morikawa recorded his breakthrough major win at the US PGA at Harding Park in San Francisco it was in front of no fans as Covid-19 restrictions were still in full force.

So to do it in front of full grandstands – 30,000 people were allowed into Royal St George’s every day this week – was a delight for the American and he was also able to use that fact to answer those who questioned his ability to perform under pressure.

“The nerves are definitely up there, but you channel these nerves into excitement and energy, and that puts you away from like a fear factor into ‘This is something I want’,” he added.

“I had nothing to prove. It’s just to you guys (the media). I’m just answering it for you guys that we can play in front of fans.

“They are some of the best fans I’ve ever seen. They truly understand the game. They appreciate the game. We owe them a huge thank you.”

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