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Jim Crowley Arc Preview: I actually think he's better than ever this year

01 Oct 2023
Coral Racing Ambassador, Jim Crowley, previews his two rides at Paris-Longchamp today, including his thoughts on Hukum ahead of the Arc.

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (15:05 Longchamp) - Hukum

It’s fair to say I’ve been looking forward to this race for some time! Having a fancied ride in the Arc is something all jockeys aspire to, so when this race was confirmed as Hukum’s target following his King George win, we’ve all been counting down the days until now. His preparation has gone brilliantly, Owen [Burrows] and his team have done a superb job with him throughout his career, he’s a horse we’ve always thought the world of, he’s had setbacks yes, but it’s testament to his temperament that he always comes back, and I actually think he’s better than ever this year.

He is a full brother to Baaeed of course, and while he doesn’t have the blistering pace Baaeed had, he does have a turn of foot, as he showed when winning the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown earlier this season, over ten furlongs. And he stays better than his sibling as well, so he’s got all the attributes you need for a race like the Arc.

A dry week in Paris may not have been ideal, as we know he goes well with some cut in the ground, but he’s got plenty of form on good ground, and I don’t think it will be too quick at Longchamp. There’s nothing we can do about the lack of rain anyway, so I can’t worry about it. More important maybe is the draw, and while I wouldn’t have chosen to be out wide in 14, it is what it is, and it’s not as if horses haven’t won the Arc from there, if he’s good enough he can do it. We’ll get together as a team and discuss race tactics, what we don’t know at this stage is where the pace might come from, there are no obvious frontrunners, so it’s going to be interesting tactically.

As you’d expect for the Arc, there is quality everywhere in the field. The three year olds get weight from their elders, and Ace Impact could be a proper superstar, as an unbeaten colt we don’t know yet. Obviously Westover is very closely matched to Hukum on their King George running, so I have massive respect for him, but as I say, it’s a top class field so I can only concentrate on my fellow, and I wouldn’t swap him for any other runner.

If we get some luck in running, he’s in great form, has the form in the book, and ticks a lot of boxes, so this could be a huge day, and what a testament to the work Sheikh Hamdan did over many years a win for Hukum would be. Sheikha Hissa has taken on the mantle from her father and winning the Arc would be the ultimate achievement for all the Shadwell team.


Prix de l'Opera (15:50 Longchamp) – Al Husn

She disappointed at York where the 1m4f distance stretched her that day. I don’t think she had fully recovered from winning the Nassau Stakes. She has had a nice break since then so we expect her to be much fresher.

The drop back down to 1m2f will help, as will the ground. She reopposes Blue Rose Cen, who she beat at Glorious Goodwood. I am hoping I can get a nice position from my draw, and If I can get her settled early, there is a good chance she will reproduce what she did at Goodwood.


Jim Crowley, Coral Racing Ambassador
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