Racing: Big-race draw puts Atlantic Ace in right place to lead pack

By Richard Edmondson
Tuesday 17 December 2013 06:19
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There was an Arazi moment at Ascot last Sunday, the sort of race you see only at a picture house or in your mind when it is lying on a pillow.

Zonergem was the name of the horse who virtually replicated Arazi's impossibly weaving run in the 1991 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, on this occasion apppearing in a puff of smoke at the head of what appeared to be a competitive handicap.

It was the sort of performance which mobilises punters like wildebeest across the Serengeti and, before you could say David Attenborough, the 33-1 Zonergem has transmuted into 4-1 for this afternoon's Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.

For those who witnessed Ascot that may still seem an appealing price. It is not quite so scrumptious though when you hear the words of Darryll Holland, today's jockey and a celebrated exponent of bringing a horse from behind in a big field. And this will be big, to be precise 35 maximum big.

"All week you have wanted to be middle to high with the draw at Newmarket, so 10 could have been better," Holland pointed out yesterday. "That said, he's a horse to drop out and I'll try to track over and follow the pace horses. Then it's just a matter of trying to find a way through and hoping we are good enough."

According to Holland, we should be looking for something a little more towards the far side and this factor brings in the second favourite, Funfair, who has been spotted working well at Newmarket of late. All that, sadly, is to no avail. He will not stay in a contest which will be run fiercely from the moment the stalls open.

In the right area also is Atlantic Ace, who, on one line of form looks tremendous value with which to take on the favourite. The five-year-old is drawn 31 and, on his most recent outing, he defeated Zonergem at Goodwood. Lady Herries's representative did not demonstrate his true form that day, but ATLANTIC ACE (nap 3.55) won with something in hand also. He, like his name suggests, is the one to emerge from the pack.

Elsewhere at Newmarket, the card is dominated by the fillies. There is another nominal clue in the Listed Oh So Sharp Stakes, which should fall to Michael Bell's Irresistible (2.45), while Dermot Weld's Dress To Thrill (3.15) is unbeaten this year and should remain so at the end of the Sun Chariot Stakes.

At Redcar, Monsieur Bond (next best 4.10) should collect a big prize in the sales race, but for the true Gallic feel we can enjoy the first day of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe weekend and four televised races by the BBC from Longchamp.

There are British runners all over the place here but none of them that convincing. The best prospects of success appear to lie with Swing Wing (3.45) for Paul Cole in the Prix Hubert de Chaudenay and Marcus Tregoning's Shadow Dancing (2.15) in the Prix de Royallieu.

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