Superstar filly Tiggy Wiggy got the column off to the perfect start and proved herself to be the fastest two-year-old in Europe on Saturday at Newmarket when cruising to victory in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes.
Sadly she will not be running in Europe’s premier sprint at Longchamp, the Prix de l’Abbaye on Sunday.
The manner in which the Richard Hannon-trained speedster jumped from the stalls and led a high class field a merry dance was very impressive and had jockey Richard Hughes stating: “She’s the fastest two-year-old I’ve ever ridden.”
From the second the stalls opened Tiggy Wiggy never saw another rival and it was breathtaking the way her stride lengthened in the final two furlongs as her closest rivals laboured in behind although trainer Richard Hannon has since called a halt to the young fillies season.
He said: “She’s not going (Longchamp), and that’s her done for the season, she puts a lot into her races and I think she’s done enough.”
Hannon’s decision not to run Tiggy Wiggy has prompted a major gamble in the Prix de l’Abbaye as champion jockey Richard Hughes is now free to partner the red-hot favourite Sole Power, who has promptly been backed in from 5/1 to 5/2.
Having already captured two Group 1s in the form of the King Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and York’s Nunthorpe Stakes, Sole Power has proven he is the best five furlong horse about and with the ideal pilot Hughes taking the ride, Paddy Power, son of Sole Powers Owner Sabena Power said: “He (Richard Hughes) and Sole Power are simply a match made in heaven and I’m expecting a very, very serious run.”
It would take a very brave man to oppose Sole Power, however Longchamp is notoriously unlucky for horses that come from behind and with that being Sole Power’s only way of racing I wouldn’t be rushing in to back him but I do hope he wins.
The Prix de l’Abbaye maybe kicks off Longchamp’s premier race day but its feature race the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is the highlight, as all the best middle distance horses from around the globe clash in what is set to be a mouthwatering showpiece.
Prize money of 5 million Euros attracts the racing world’s elite one and half-mile specialists and this year is no different with representatives from Britain, Ireland, France, Germany and Japan all seeking to win Europe’s biggest race.
The racing-mad nation of Japan has desperately yearned for this race over the years and have come desperately close on a number of occasions, not least when Orfevre was agonisingly beaten in 2012, but despite their best efforts the race has so far eluded them but this year their luck could be about to change.
The Japanese are having three bites of the cherry with Harp Star and Gold Ship but the best chance of winning may come from Just A Way.
After winning only once in his first 14 starts, the penny has finally dropped this season for Naosuke Sugai’s five-year-old colt as he looks to add to his three wins and maintain his unbeaten season.
The way in which he dispatched a group 1 field in the Dubai Duty Free in Meydan back in March has to be seen to be believed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGQeYYrKccA) and any repeat of that sort of performance will make him very hard to beat.
The only question mark based around Just A Way is his stamina as he has never won over 12 furlongs but expect him to hit the front two furlongs out and just hope is stamina holds out.
I watched the William Haggas-trained Muthmir smash the track record at Doncaster after falling out of the stalls and losing three lengths, he then found trouble in running to lose another few lengths and all on ground that wasn’t riding that quick.
After that I marked him down as a certain next-time-out winner and the fact that he has been entered to run in a listed race at Ascot on Saturday instead of the group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye is very surprising, but he is definitely worth backing.
Jimmy’s big tips
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (3.15 Longchamp Sunday) - Just A Way 7/1
Ascot 2.05 Saturday - Muthmir