Wuheida 'an Oaks filly' but more clues to come at HQ
A very different Arc weekend in Paris saw the unveiling of a most exciting two-year-old filly in the shape of Goldolphin's Wuheida, who took the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly with a display of sheer class. She is a Classic filly for next year, there is no doubt.
On only her second start, the Charlie Appleby-trained two-year-old quickly worked up into the firing line and had anything but an easy run, vying with the John Gosden-trained Dabyah for the lead, and then showing staying potential by seeing off her rivals in the final 200m.
Appleby wanted time for the dust to settle before nominating any big targets -- and 24 hours after the G1 triumph, the trainer said: "At this early stage, I see Wuheida as more an Oaks type for next year.
"But I am hoping we can clarify long-term plans for them this weekend when Sobetsu runs in the G1 Dubai Fillies Mile at Newmarket. It will give us a good chance to establish a pecking order," he pointed out.
Godolphin's Irish filly Pleascach was magnificent in finishing runner-up to Speedy Boarding in the G1 Prix de l'Opera -- she was beaten a short head in a bobbing finish -- and she may make a quick reappearance, on British Champions Day at Ascot on October 15.
"She has run a great race. It's hard to come back like that without having had a (prep) run," trainer Jim Bolger said. The filly, who had suffered several setbacks, had not run since last year's G1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, won by Golden Horn in a controversial finish.
Chantilly was the temporary venue this year for the two-day Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting. Longchamp is being revamped, with a new grandstand built, and is not expected to be ready until late October 2017, so a second Chantilly running is on the cards. An all-ticket raceday, the crowd ceiling on Arc day was set at at a sensible 15,000, and even that saw a few cracks and strains appear on the surface of a boutique racecourse that otherwise serves the 'normal' French raceday crowd very well.
On the Global scene, this was another stellar weekend. Apart from Paris, there were a series of G1 races at Belmont, New York, and at Santa Anita, Los Angeles, as well as Randwick, Sydney, and Flemington, Melbourne.
California Chrome took a starring role in the G1 Awesome Again Stakes in the States, while Hartnell, carrying the Godolphin royal blue, trounced his rivals in the G1 Turnbull Stakes in Australia. Both horses have never raced better in their careers.